Inadequate

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
in·ad·e·quate
inˈadikwət/
adjective
  1. lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.
    “these labels prove to be wholly inadequate”
    synonyms: insufficient, deficient, poor, scant, scanty, scarce, sparse, in short supply

    Wow.  I just titled this blog “Inadequate” and then when I went to grab the definition it stopped me in my tracks.  Wow. Just wow.

    I don’t know if I’m the only one who does this but sometimes I use big words and know how to use them in context but there’s just something about when you look up their actual definition.

    This past week I’ve been frustrated with The Lord.  That’s harsh but it’s honest.  I’ve been like a kid throwing a fit with her daddy.  Just spent.

    I took a personality test and although it wasn’t anything necessarily surprising because I’ve taken these types of tests numerous times and I know what category I fall in.. something about this time around just struck me down.

    I’m a dreamer.  I see the world through different eyes.  I see the good in people and hope for the best.  Almost everything has a deeper meaning to me.  I love music, art, poetry, and all the other colorful things that ‘artsy’ people like.   I love deep.  I’m very guarded about who I let into my heart but man, I love deep!  Anything is possible through my eyes.  I may not know all the steps to get there …  oh, but you can get there!

    So why was I so frustrated?  Because God made me this way.  Sometimes I wish I was more organized and task oriented.  I’m way too scattered.  I’m great at dreamer but not so great at developing the plan and executing the plan.  If I followed facts rather than feelings my life would be more simple.  Things would just be black and white instead of fuchsia and sparkly.

    I’m the weird girl.  I’m the girl that winds up alone in group settings.  My heart is wrapped in music but I don’t fit with the musicians.  I don’t play instruments, I don’t know how to read music, I can’t sing with a live band (only recorded tracks).  I can sing …  but that’s it.  I don’t understand the other talk around music.

    I’m stuck in a corporate job and pretty much have been since I was 18.  I can hold a conversation about corporate shenanigans but I’m bored out of my mind! One of my greatest fears is that I’ll be trapped in a corporate job forever.  **Side note** I understand I can quit my job and chase my dreams but I know that I’m actually where I’m called to be for this season but nonetheless I’m still frustrated***

    I can be surrounded by corporate folks and have no interest in climbing ladders.  When I received a promotion last year the thing that was so funny to me is that we can pray for promotion and more money and more responsibility … but at the end of the day we’re still the SAME person … just with a title, a little extra money, and more responsibility.  I’m blessed for sure … but this doesn’t satisfy the cravings of my heart.

    I can surround myself with “church” people and then I hear them talk about how a child will have an ailment for the rest of his/her life… and speak with such hopelessness.  One person is complaining about another person in the congregation and another person is sharing how she had way too many glasses of wine the night before.

    This is not judgement.  Please don’t take it that way.  But I wonder if we’ve forgotten the healing power of Jesus Christ?  I wonder if we’ll ever take our hearts outside of our little boxes and long to live like Jesus did.  Look, I’m guilty too.  I just wanna bust out of this cultural Christianity and see something happen.  I want to see the blind man see.  I want to see the child with an ailment get up and walk by the power of Jesus resting on him.  I want to stand with people who want this too!

    My whole point is that I always feel like an outsider.  I ALWAYS feel like I’m standing on the outside looking in.  My heart is always longing for more and not in a way where I’m never content but to where I ALWAYS know there’s something more.  I know that doesn’t explain it … but it makes sense in my head.

    I’m usually a pretty secure person.  Knowing my identity in Christ has set me free in so many ways, but every once in a while I get down too.  I feel inadequate and I question God.  However, I always bounce back and I always will!

    I’ve come too far to ever go back.  God is so faithful.  He has created each of us with a plan and a purpose.  God doesn’t waste anything.  I trust this and I trust Him.  The reason I was so frustrated lately is because I wasn’t trusting Him.  I doubted His plan and felt like He wasn’t moving fast enough.  I felt like I would always feel inadequate and lonely.  This is a lie.  The devil is a liar and he’s defeated.

    I am not defined by what I do.  I am not defined by how many friends I have or how many text messages I receive each day.  I’m not defined by Facebook likes or “friends” on social media.  I’m not defined by worldly promotions and titles.  I’m not defined by my gifts and talents.   …. and neither are YOU!

    Be encouraged.  You are amazing!  You were created by the Creator of the universe … with a plan and a purpose in mind.  I was too!  I was created to bring my Father glory.  That’s exciting!

    God’s word is truer than our feelings.  Hold steady –  the best is yet to come!

    Love to you!

    April

Toxic Relationships

toxic

Why do we hold on to toxic relationships?  Why do we feel so unworthy of healthy relationships?  Why do we cry and complain over how unsatisfied we are in our lives with the ones we call “friends” and yet do nothing about it?  What do you think paralyzes people in this area?

I never had a problem with abusive relationships with men.  My dad was always very steady and I just knew that he loved me whether he showed it or not.  I just knew.

My friendships with girls on the other hand …. Dang!  Hot mess.  Catty, gossip, slander, jealous…. blah.  It was just messy.  In my mind THIS was friendship.

As I grew in my walk with Jesus I started to feel very sad and uncomfortable in these types of relationships.  I was now aware and responsible for MY actions, MY words, MY behavior.  I couldn’t continue in these toxic relationships.

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

When I went through anxiety and depression hanging around my “friends” made me feel so overwhelmed. I just could not be in that type of environment where girls are backbiting and backstabbing.  I was literally fighting for my life and the last thing I cared about was what so-and-so said to so-and-so and how ‘she’ was wearing ‘blah blah’ on Tuesday.  Ugh!  Yuck.  I talked to the girls about making a positive change and TRIED to be the light in the dark conversations… but it just wasn’t working.

I cried my heart out to The Lord and said, “I’m already paralyzed by anxiety and depression and now the scales have fully fallen off of my eyes in regards to these girls.  I would rather be alone than be a part of this mess.”  At that moment I disconnected from anyone who was not helping me run this race.  I cut off ties from people who were jealous and mean. I shut down all relationships with people who insulted me or made fun of me because of how “Jesusfied” I was.  Done. No more.

A quote from a Third Day song sticks with me from when I was walking out of anxiety and depression.  “When I get down from this mountain and get back to my life, I won’t settle for ordinary things.”  Never again!

I want to encourage you today to take a look at the people around you.  Are they helping you run this race or are they ankle weights?  Are they lifting you up or smashing you down?  I’m not talking about ending all of your friendships because you had a disagreement with your best friend OR because your best friend is frustrating you because she’s holding you accountable…. You know what I’m talking about.  People who make you feel guilty.  People who you can’t fully share your heart with because they laugh and make fun of your dreams.  People who define you as who you USED TO BE.  People who take and take but never give to the relationship.  Evaluate who you’re spending time with and how you feel after you’ve been around them.  Sit quietly in the group and listen to what they talk about.  Are they speaking life?  What and who you listen to plant seeds into your heart.  Those are seeds of encouragement and hope or seeds of discouragement and defeat. If people love us why would they hurt us?  I think we have become an accepting society that thinks this is normal.  This may be ‘normal’ to this world but it’s not right and it shouldn’t be ‘normal’ to believers.  Have you read the Biblical definition of love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Now I know we ALL fall short but you should be able to take the character of your friends and lay that on this scripture and it should match up pretty close!  None of us are perfect… but you get what I’m sayin’, right?  Don’t define love by this world’s broken standards.  Read this scripture and ask God to reveal your identity and value to you… then take inventory on the people in your life.  Are they helping you run the race?

Hebrews 12:1 “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

You are who you hang with.  They will rub off on you and you will be like them no matter how hard you try not to be. When you share the treasures of your heart with the wrong people they can destroy you!

Matthew 7:6New International Version (NIV)

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

There are commentaries that state the above scripture is in reference to sharing the gospel and that may be true… but God spoke to MY heart through this scripture when I was struggling with toxic friendships and spoke to me through this verse.  He was telling me not to give the treasures of my heart to people that will discourage me.  He told me to guard my heart.  It is my responsibility to take the gifts and talents He gave me and run forward.  When people get in my way, I love them but I’ve got to go!

Last year I lost one of my VERY best friends.  I love her to pieces and think of her often. She was backsliding terribly and instead of receiving my accountability she started calling me judgmental and started making me feel guilty for holding her accountable.  She started to hurt me.  She started to take private, deep stuff that I had shared with her and started throwing it in my face to hurt me.  Stumbling block!  I tried to reconcile, I tried to maintain a friendship but I am confident that God’s got her.  She will find her way back to Him. I love her dearly but I can’t slow down and I can’t go backwards. My friend was going through a hard time and I know she was hurting but we are responsible for our behavior. I don’t allow women to stay in my life who want to hurt me when they’re hurting. These are my boundaries that are set in stone.

I had another best friend going through the same situation as the before mention chick … and she acted TOTALLY different with her hurt.  She drew closer to me and asked for prayer and accountability.  She was confused and hurt but she didn’t spew that out on me or the other people that she loved.  She drew closer to God and wanted more of Him.  She and I are running the race together.  There are days when I have to lend her my shoulder and we run together. We may not be running at full pace (because of carrying the weight of another) … but we’re running and we’re going forward… and this is what we’re called to do!

Do you see that difference?

So how long are you going to circle that mountain? Do you enjoy hurt feelings and someone who ‘loves’ you planting seeds of negativity into your life? What are you going to do about that?

I’m praying for women who are searching for freedom from people who are holding them in bondage.  I know it’s easier said than done to just ‘let them go’ … but at the end of the day … it really is that simple.  The hard part is the mental battle.  It’s difficult to go searching for the root that keeps you in relationships like this.  Digging up my root was VERY painful … but very freeing!

My identity was rooted in people and what they thought of me and NOT in God and what HE thinks of me. Once I found that root and destroyed it and planted myself in the TRUTH …. my life changed completely. I hope you conquer this battle.  I hope you find the freedom that you’re seeking and I hope you realize just how valuable you are even if that means you have to be alone!

Love to you, my friends!

PS – when I decided I’d rather be alone and set my boundaries, God totally showed up with AMAZING women.  He significantly placed them in my life at the perfect time.  They are wonderful!  Truly wonderful! I don’t think I ever would have gotten these chicks or appreciated them had I not cut off all the old friendships that were hindering me, and seeking out my identity and value in Christ.

Friendship should be easy.  This doesn’t mean we don’t get challenged because our friends SHOULD challenge us because they want us to be better and move forward boldly – but it should ALWAYS be rooted in love.  Don’t get it twisted…  love can hurt when it calls us out! Don’t you get offended when someone tries to correct your bad ways? I know I do.  I usually know I’m doing something wrong and when I get called out on it, I immediately feel that fire shoot up in my chest… BUT when it’s someone who I love and loves me, and someone I walk closely with, I NEED them to call me out.  I need them to point out my blind spots.  This is challenging.  BUT this is challenging in LOVE.

Pray for God to open your eyes and get ready for your world to be ROCKED… in a good way!

RANDOM JOURNAL

white ring

So, it’s March 1st.  March 1st is a significant day in my life because March 1, 2011 is when I experienced my first panic attack that led to a year of General Anxiety Disorder.  The worst thing that ever happened to me actually wound up being the best thing that happened to me because it set me free from so much bondage.

You can read my story here.

I have never felt so out of control in my life than I did in 2011.  I didn’t even recognize myself.  I used to stare in the mirror, into my eyes, and know that April was in there … somewhere.  I refused to let her go.

I thank God that He carried me.  He was so close to me even when He felt distant.  His truth is the real deal.  His love is true love.  His grace is enough.  My goodness …  He loves us!

I’m sitting here on March 1, 2015 and I’m free.  Like…  for real FREE.  I have such peace.  My thoughts are calm.  I have extended forgiveness to people who have hurt me, I don’t get involved in gossip or drama …. I’m not surrounded by a million ‘friends’ but the few that I do have are AMAZING!

I look at my life now and I smile.  I cannot express to you how God can grab a hold of your heart and when you surrender to Him – He can really make you new.  He can build up your true identity.  He can show you what love really is so that you won’t tolerate the counterfeit version for a second!  He can take all your guilt and shame and toss it into the sea.  He can release you from people pleasing. He can make your heart SO content that you’d rather be alone than surrounded by people who are not building you up.  Only God can do that.  I could have never done that on my own.  I tried … and I failed continuously.

So today, on THIS day –  I want you to know that you were made for such a time as this.  Your current circumstances do NOT define you.  When times get hard don’t give up.  This too shall pass.  Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.  Let hope stir in your heart!  God is for you.  He loves you and He has a great plan and purpose for your life.  He will restore the stolen year.  Trust Him.  Endure.

My battle with anxiety and depression turned my world upside down.  I waited for my husband to check me in to a mental hospital… shoot, I thought about checking myself in many nights … but my husband never gave up on me.

I contemplated suicide many nights.  I have never felt so hopeless, confused and empty.  I was tormented day in and day out by my thoughts.  I couldn’t see color – only black and white.  Things that were normally beautiful were not beautiful to me.  Everything was dull.  I was sick constantly.  No one could help me.  No matter how good their intentions and advice was … they couldn’t fix me.  Only Jesus could help me.

I poured everything I had into Him.  I surrendered my life to Him fully. I got to the bottom of me and handed it all over to Him because my way was not working.

I type this and cry because I wish I could grab your face (in a gentle way), stare into your eyes and MAKE YOU trust God.  On this side of the fence I can tell you that He is true to His word and His truth is NOT dependent on our feelings or our efforts.  Praise God for that!  Push past what you feel and with that deep ache in your heart, trust Him.  Through your tears … trust Him.  Through your fear … Trust Him.

I was disgusting in my year of battling anxiety and depression.  I wasn’t presenting myself as the perfect Christian to The Lord.  I wasn’t performing for God because I had nothing more to give. I wasn’t acting anymore.  This was real.  I lied on my face, at the feet of Jesus and sobbed as I repented of past sexual encounters.  I went through a 4 month season (before Tony/marriage 🙂 ) of what I jokingly call my “Sex In The City Phase”.  I was having the ‘TIME OF MY LIFE’ out in the world before I met Tony.  I was doing my own thing and I was having fun!  Who would have know that 7 years later I would be talking to Jesus about my hot messiness and He would be sitting with me, loving on me, forgiving me, and comforting me?!? I forgave people who had hurt me bad.  I repented of being a bad friend to people.  I confessed how insecure I was to Jesus.  I had always presented myself as this happy-go-lucky person but inside I always felt rejected and not good enough. I spent so many night crying myself to sleep because of loneliness.

During my season of darkness, I finally had time to share all of these things with my Heavenly Father.  Not only did I get to share with God but I got to hear myself confess these things.  It brought an awareness to how I had never really picked up God’s truth and allowed it to guard my heart and mind.  I loved God and I could go through the motions but I wasn’t completely anchored.

All that to say-  YOU … you keep your head up.  I didn’t get healed because I am any better or more Christian than you.  I got healed because I knew that God would heal me.  I pressed forward.  I persevered.  I submerged myself in the Word, prayer and time with God.  I surrounded myself with people who built me up and encouraged me. If anything was going on at church, I was there!  I turned on worship music and turned off negative/useless shows on TV.  I searched the Word and made note cards of God’s truths.  I hung scripture around my house and prayed them out loud every morning … most days multiple times!  I wanted God to hurry up but I resolved that God is good and He will not delay.  I stopped fearing death.  I searched the scriptures about death and made my heart and mind obey God.  I realized this world was not my home.  I realized that in the Bible Jesus’ followers didn’t have cushy lives.  They were persecuted often.  The majority were martyred.  Paul wrote from prison multiple times and he’s not often complaining about prison or his unfair conditions –  he is instead claiming the truth of Jesus Christ.  Paul worshiped in chains.  He sang songs of praise during persecution.

We don’t do that here in our western culture.  We say we will.  We say we follow Jesus and we’ll stand firm ’til the end but as soon as our feet get knocked out from under us, we lose our desire to trust God and wait on Him for direction.  We start complaining and speaking hopelessness over our lives.  We run and tell 15 people how terrible our lives are.  Our moods shift and we shut down.   I do this! Even after all God has done for me … I still have a tendency to do this but because of what I’ve been through and because I know God is faithful, it’s easy for the Holy Spirit to convict me and remind me of where I’ve been and where God has brought me.  This story will never get old.  God is in the redemption business.  He brings dead things to life… over and over and over again.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.  He will get you through this time in your life.  He will not let you down.  I speak from experience.  I am healed and it’s not because of anything that I did … it’s because Jesus died for me and healed me way before I was even born.  I just chose to finally believe Him and walk out my freedom … and that, my friends, is there for you too.  You already possess freedom, you just have to take a hold of it and walk in it — EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL FREE.

Love to you!

April