Who Are You?

young woman looking into a mirror

There’s just something so lovely about being around someone who is secure in their identity.

One of my best friends is a precious introvert. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented, she’s super creative and I admire her.  The other day I was having a conversation with her and told her how sometimes I wish I were more like her.  Quiet, behind the scenes, pure treasure.  **Shout out, Melissa** ❤

If you want to know about Melissa you have to actually spend time with her.  You won’t know her by her Facebook page or other social media outlets.  You won’t know her by constant texting.  You have to actually be with her.  I love this.  I love that our relationship is extremely special because she doesn’t share the deep details of her life with just anyone.

During my conversation with Melissa the other night I realized that she was completely okay. She was not seeking attention or trying to gather a crowd of friends around her.  She desires quality over quantity. If that means fewer folks in her life – then so be it.  But she was okay.  She was not suffering or seeking.  She was being.  She’s a wife, mom, friend, graphic designer, and many other things.  She’s not striving.  She’s being.  She’s living.

I have spent many years striving to be the popular girl, the leader, the mentor … and friends, that’s just plain exhausting.  I’ve learned that God can’t move you into your calling if you’re not even being you.

He created a plan for each of us.  He has a purpose for our lives – but how can we fulfill those purposes for our lives if we’re too busy living someone else’s?

He needs the real, authentic version of us to show up for the assignment.

Since as far back as I can remember, I have always tried to be what others thought I should be or what others labeled me.  Mostly good things – but exhausting things. … The leader, the counselor, the mentor.  These are the titles that made me feel important and like I was making a difference in this world.

That’s all good until you’re not those things.

I remember when I was struck with depression back in 2011.  I was struggling so bad.  I said to The Lord, “But I’ve always been so happy.” And The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “But who are you if you’re not happy? ”

It was such an eye opening moment.

He speaks that to my heart often.  “But who are you if …?   And who am I?”

Mark 8:29 comes to mind where Jesus is talking to his disciples in regards to what people were saying about him, “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

I think Jesus will often ask us that question when our circumstances aren’t so pretty …. when our plans aren’t working out the way we thought they should.

Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, answered “You are the Messiah.”

It’s okay if we don’t have it all figured out today.  I’d actually be more concerned if we DID have it figured out.

Today, we just need to know who we are ‘if’:

you have a health battle.

you have a prodigal child.

you’re having financial difficulty.

your marriage is suffering.

your dreams seem out of reach.

your season is changing quickly and you can’t control it. 

Our circumstances don’t change our identity in Christ.  That sucker is secure, sister!

… and who do we say Jesus is in the midst of those circumstances?

If you’re up for it – in the comments section, post who you are in the midst of your circumstances and who God is.

I’ll go first:

I am a daughter of the King. He has plans to prosper my life.  He created me with such detail for His glory.  I get to be apart of His plan.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace. By His stripes I am healed. He is my solid rock and I can always count on Him.  

We are loved by the King.  Deeply.  Always.

-April

 

 

Our Brokenness

womens_prayer-1

“We can impress people with our strengths but we connect through our brokenness.” – Craig Groeschel

I don’t know where the idea came from that as Christians we are supposed to have it all together and be perfect.

Don’t you often feel that’s the way we’re expected to be and therefore we just put on the mask and march along with our other Christian friends?

A few months ago I met this chick at a gathering a mutual friend was having.  We hit it off right away and we talked and laughed all evening.  We made plans to meet up for dinner a couple of weeks later.  I was so excited to hang with her.

We met up.  We talked.  We laughed.  We ate good food.  We went our separate ways.

As I was walking back to my car that night I called my husband and told him, “She was so nice.  Super awesome … but we’ll most likely never talk again. She’s just too put together”

You see, this girl loved Jesus and was chasing hard after him – but she was whole and neat and all put together. She was a leader and a mentor.  I’m a leader and mentor.

We spent a lot of the night sharing parts of our stories and definitely our highlights of what God has done in our lives, how He has healed us,  and what we know now.  She did’t necessarily need me and I didn’t necessarily need her.

We went on with our lives.

Until a couple of months later.

I had written a blog pouring my heart out about lies that still try to take me captive.

She messaged me the next day and told me that God had used what I wrote to encourage her.

From that moment forward we came clean to each other about how we’re still a work in progress, we’re messy, she confessed sin, I confessed sin.

It was incredible.

It was real.

I don’t think either of us ever meant to initially come across as polished, whole, perfect believers … it just happens sometimes.

A few days ago I was having lunch with a new friend and after she shared a lot about her story and where she was and where God has brought her now … I said to her – “I’m so excited you’re screwed up too!”

We laughed.  We had such a wonderful time together because neither of us was pretending to be of any more worth than the other.

We are desperate for Jesus. That’s why we follow Him because we recognize our need for him and because we can’t do this on our own.

He makes beauty from ashes, you guys. It’s His specialty.

I just want to encourage you to talk to Jesus about whether or not you’re being real.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being fake or that you’re purposely pretending to be something that you’re not … sometimes it’s just easy (especially with our culture) to fall into this polished, pretty, perfect Christian image.

Living  our lives this way may impress people but it won’t bring true connection.  Our brokenness is what makes us bond.

When a friend prays over you and you ugly cry into their arms … you don’t even care if your eyebrows get wiped off (lol). You just cling to them and them to you – and let loose! That is connection.

When you’ve let someone in close enough and they see you dabbling in sin and then smearing grace and love all over it to justify what you’re wrongfully doing – and they call you out (in love) … That is connection.

When you walk into your friend’s house and see your writing project and your husband’s new tech company written on their prayer wall and you KNOW they are praying for you – That’s connection.

We’re a mess. All of us.  It’s Jesus that cleans us up – not us.  He wants us to come to Him as we are and not how we ought to be.  …. so we can go to good, safe, trusted friends that way as well.

It’s our brokenness that connects us deeply.

You are dearly loved.

April

God Promotion vs Self Promotion

woman-pointing-to-herself

Can someone answer this question for me?

At what point does promotion and marketing of your ministry or God given talents/gifts turn into JUST self promotion? Isn’t our walk with Christ all about dying… dying to self? Isn’t it about self denial?

I struggle with this.

Bad.

To the point where I just want to quit everything at times.

I can give you tips, tools, advice and whatever else this amazing brain of mind can spit out to encourage you ;o) but to be truthful – at what point does our “Look over here” work cross that fine line?

I mean – in the scriptures folks were not bringing attention to themselves to share what God wanted them to share.  They were just going about their everyday (and usually pretty boring) business.

Look at David, for instance –  Shepherd.  Nobody.  Doing boring work.  David wasn’t standing on a mountain top waving his hand to share about God.  God called David in the midst of his boring day job.

I honestly research ways to get your attention so that you’ll read the stuff I write, share with all your friends in hopes that it would help and encourage you and others.  BUT … should I have to do all that or should I just write?

Won’t God do the rest if He wants?

Am I over thinking this?

The work that it takes to focus on my ‘audience’ and attract the right ‘market’ just irritates the crap out of me at times.  It feels so contrary to what God would want… or like I’m saying, “Hey God.  You obviously don’t know much about search engine optimization (SEO) and how to brand/market so that folks want to hear what I got to say… so you just rest your pretty little head while I take over.”

Jesus washed nasty feet. He loved on people, cared for them, taught them … but He OFTEN withdrew from the crowd.

Aren’t we to do the same?

Anyway.  That’s a bit of a rant, I guess … but I really would like to hear your thoughts.

I feel like I open up Facebook and immediately leave.  There is just too much noise… too much “Hey look at me.” … Too many selfies with scriptures … too many “I’m selling this product and I can help YOU, when really I just want to make money off of YOU so I don’t have to work a day job anymore – In Jesus’ name of course.”

Hey. I’m not hating.  I’m guilty too. And it grosses me out.

I HAVE to post my blog multiple times per day because people won’t even see it.  I struggle with that.  From a business stance, cool – post it again … but from a follower of Christ stance – won’t God allow folks to see the writing HE put on my heart regardless of who FB wants to show it to?

Blah.

What are your thoughts?  Won’t God raise up what HE WANTS to raise up?  Won’t God attract folks who need to know about HIM through us if we’re obedient?

Our gifts are not for us.  Our gifts are to bring God glory, right?

Hit me with your thoughts on this.  I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say.

You are dearly loved!

April

Is Your Heart Searching For More?

longing

You know that constant feeling of wanting something more?

It may not be there all the time but it rises up.

Often.

If you’re anything like me – you like instant gratification.

However, you’ve probably learned (like me) that instant gratification only brings temporary pleasure.

No one wants to suffer.  We want the easy, quick, painless approach.

But what good does that do?

Are some of your most life changing seasons the ones that brought pain?  The ones that weren’t easy?

Yup.  Same for me.

But we get through them.  We’re equipped to get through them.  We just pick up the equipment and tools as we move through the trial.

That longing in your heart (and mine) is that we want more of Jesus but instead we fill that void with temporary, earthly pleasures and those only last a little while.

A few weeks ago I had a cold.  It was one of those head colds where you can’t taste anything and you constantly have a nasty taste in your mouth.

I figured out that if I ate fast food and drank Coca Cola I felt satisfied. I usually eat pretty healthy but something about bold, delicious, fattening, high calorie foods seemed to make me feel so alive and well … but only for a few moments until I was done eating.  The nasty taste would return to my mouth and I’d be left wanting more of the big flavors.

When you’re sick the last thing you need is to bog your system down with terrible foods.  Your body is fighting so hard against the sickness and when we don’t take care of ourselves while we’re sick (good, healthy foods, lots of sleep, lots of water) we can prolong the healing process.

I know this – and yet I didn’t really care.  For three days, every meal, I ate cheeseburgers, tacos, sodas, and fries.  They made me feel better only while I was eating them and then I returned to the full blown sickness.  The food only brought temporary relief and ultimately I was still left to battle the sickness.

Gosh, that’s such a picture of how we live our lives as believers.  Doesn’t it seem like Jesus is just taking too long sometimes? Or maybe God forgot His plan for our lives?  So let’s go out and stuff ourselves with temporary satisfaction – only to still be left to deal.

Nothing satisfies like Jesus.  Nothing ever will.  You can fill that void all day long and you’ll still come up empty.

You can shop, eat, hang with friends, receive the things you’ve been longing for – and they will still leave you unsatisfied.

We are just strangers passing through.

We can  enjoy things here on this earth but I can always tell when I’ve pushed Jesus aside and think I’ve got a handle on things.  Not on purpose – but my planning and busyness can easily put me in control … and I’m left with that longing.

And I know it’s time to drop all that I’m doing and run back to my Father.

We don’t always get it right.  We get in the way and we mess things up. But Jesus is always waiting on us.

Do you feel empty? Lost? Confused? Want to give up on your dream? Wondering if you really heard The Lord say that thing to you?

If you feel that deep longing in your heart I just want to encourage you to take a break. Connect to the Source.  He’ll be there waiting on you with open arms.  Run to Him if you’re weary and heavy burdened and he will give you rest.  Those are His words, not mine.

No shame, no fear, no condemnation.

Repent, receive His forgiveness – immediately, and rest.

Jesus came to give us abundant life.  It’s only through Him that we experience that abundance here and now, in a world we don’t fit in.

Stay close and be filled, friend. He’s got great things in store for you!

You are dearly loved.

April