just stand

a few days ago, one of my exes called. there's so much that could be said about the past calling.

you know the usual – you're supposed to be asleep but you get that text that reads

hey, are you awake?

I guess old habits die hard. you know the usual – flirting, temptation, pictures. but this time it was unusual. this time it was different. this time it was one-sided. and I don't know what it was. maybe, like he described later, it was maturity. finally. or maybe I was just bored…

I'm just so tired of being that girl. always a bridesmaid, never a bride. only this time it's always a…I dunno…well I know what I want to say but it doesn't flow as nicely. it's just not nice to not make it to full-fledged wife status with all the frills it comes with. I don't want to settle for anything less than the dream – the vision- that I believe God has whispered to my heart. and something within me just stood up and firmly said no. and I'm not writing about this to brag. I'm typing this out because I've never felt this feeling before. I feel as confident as I felt before I was an awkward, pimply teenager. I feel confident. I feel strong.

I just said no. I feel like I just can't live the same way anymore. Like the Woman at the Well, I'm looking to experience something new. I'm tired of the same old water that continually leaves me thirsty. I really can't do this anymore. Within a few moments of texting and talking, I realized I had grown. I couldn't believe what I was saying. I couldn't believe what I was refusing. And it didn't mean I'd be perfect – no I definitely slip every day, but thank God for grace through Jesus. I don't have to do it all on my own. I don't have to constantly fear slipping up. I can live and walk confidently knowing that my sins are forgiven and that God will help me to live life loved and to live life new. I don't need to return to the past. It doesn't fill me up anymore. And the truth is, it never has.

"In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." Psalm 18:29

I am stronger. I am goal-oriented. I am focused on the benefits ahead and not on momentary pleasure.

Dear Reader,
Could you please pray for me? Pray for deliverance. I'm praying for you too. Even if you're not there yet – have faith. You will be. This God I serve is so great. So powerful. His love is endless. There's nothing too embarrassing, dirty, or unworthy.

"Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies;"

Psalm 103:4

Song: Clean

"There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean

There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean" – Natalie Grant, "Clean"

Thank God that we serve a God who's perfect; who loves us even though we don't deserve it. He fights our battles for us. We are never alone.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

Song: I Am Not Alone

Sometimes we don't think of our bad habits as addictions. Or worse, we think that our bad habit is not as bad as his or hers. But praise God for deliverance. Have there been bad things that have happened this week? Life is filled with mess-ups, slip-ups, and breakups, but today let's make our minds up – we won't live life with a victim mindset. We can make it. We can overcome.

Song: Overcomer

Today let's celebrate the progress we've made. Lets give credit where credit is due instead of focusing on our failures. Let's replace fear of failure with faith in the future: hope. A hope that can only be conceived through a continual trust in Jesus.

Song: 'Tis so Sweet

Let's say thank you to God as we recognize how far he's brought us from our past. And let's look forward to the future.

just wait part 2 (finally)

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 

-1 Chronicles‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬ 

Today’s verse of the day spoke volumes to me. This verse reminds me that God is in control over every situation in our lives. It also reminds me that he is in control over all of our resources. It encourages me to stay anti-anxiety. It encourages me to look towards him, and to look at what he is capable of and not to look at my circumstances. It’s not that I’m not aware of my circumstances or I am not putting forth effort; rather I am not driven by my circumstances or my fear. My fear of the future does not define me. Instead my faith fuels my drive. 

I want a job but I also need to finish my field experience volunteering hours by the end of April so I’ve been volunteering Monday – Friday mornings. 

I need a job, but after years of taking just any job, I think I’m finally moving in the direction God wants me: total reliance on Him. I trust that He’ll lead me to exactly where I need to be at the time I need to be there. 

Even the way I got the position for my field experience volunteering was truly the work of God. Everything fell into place at just the right time. And I know that if God did it before, (and very recently), he will be faithful in the future. I don’t have to worry or stress like other people who don’t have a relationship with God might be tempted to worry. My relationship with God has changed my outlook on life. And I am so very grateful. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on God isn’t such a bad place to be. Trust Him. He will never let you down. 

just stay in your lane

I’m usually not a jealous person. At least I wouldn’t add that to my list of trait characteristics. But recently I had a repeat situation that reminded me of some things I need to take care of. Every Christian will face it at some point – the temptation to look outside of your lane. 

There will always be someone who is prettier/smarter/more skilled than you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion (e.g “prettier). Sometimes it’s a matter of fact (e.g. “more skilled”). 

If you spend your entire life looking in the other lane, you’ll never appreciate all that God has in store for you. I think that’s why this verse is written the way it is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6 

Giving thanks involves remembering. 

A memory is a powerful tool.

Remembering what God has done for you or others in your life or in the Bible can help shift your thought processes, making them less negative and more positive. 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2 

Focusing on God is uplifting.

What does this have to do with jealousy and envy? someone is asking.

First this to clear up things, a few things I learned from Merriam Webster: 

“Though ‘jealous’ and ‘envious’ may both mean “covetous,” only ‘jealous’ may be used to mean “possessively suspicious.”” 

Jealousy comes with the threat of losing something while envy is wanting what someone else has. 

The biblical books of James and Ecclesiastes give us insight: 

James 4:2-3

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Ecclesiastes 4:4

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 

To stay in your lane, take your focus off the temporal. Don’t look to the left or right, only look to Jesus. He is the One Who tells us who we are. When you know who you are and how valuable you are to God, you won’t need to compare yourselves to others. When you compare, you will always fall short. 

There are various times in a Christian’s life where he or she has to ask God to help with his or her vision:

  • When you’re proud – God help me to see myself for who I truly am so that I can please you. (1 Peter). 
  • When you’re feeling lonely – God open my eyes to see that you are all around me. (1 Kings).
  • When you’re feeling threatened that someone might take what you have or you want what someone else has  – God help me to see that you have plans for me – plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Here are a few power verses to lift your thoughts:

The Key to Anti-Jealousy: Stand firm in knowing who you are because God, who made you, said so. Stand firm knowing that God has good plans for your future.

  • Psalm 143:8-9 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you.
  • 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
  • Galatians 5:14-15 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
  • Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Key to Anti-Envy: Keep your eyes in your lane. Recognize that God’s grace and love are able to take care of you as well as everyone else in the world. His supply of love, grace and resources  is unlimited. 

  • Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
  • Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…
  • James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
  • Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

when you just doubt.

I wanted to entitle this one “just hope” but that didn’t feel right.

I’ve experienced a lot of terrible situations in life that have left me fearful. 

Anxiety.

Imagine walking to your favorite restaurant. You already know how to get there so you don’t need a map. You know you need to cross a few streets and maybe wait at a few stop lights, but instead of walking the direct path from point A to point B, you stop behind each building you see along the way and then peek from behind the building’s walls before moving forward down the familiar path to your favorite restaurant. That’s what anxiety feels like to me. I feel like I have to hide behind bushes and buildings and wait to see if there’s any traffic rushing towards me before I step out into the street. I feel like a dangerous accident might happen. 

Drunken driver. Malfunctioning airbag. Deer in headlights. Flock of geese. 

I mean, anything could happen. 

And that’s what anxiety feels like to me – like I need to have a peek around the corner before something terrible happens to me. 

Sometimes when I feel that way, I remember this post I read a while ago “Expecting the good that God wants to give you“. 

If you’re too lazy to read that short article, here is a powerful line that stood out to me:

“Fear is the opposite of faith and it takes faith to accept anything good in our lives.”

This verse is powerful too:

All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 

– Proverbs 15:15 HCSB

satan wants us to focus on the terrible things in life that have happened, are happening, or could happen. When you’re stuck on focusing on anything/anyone but God, it is so very easy to become anxious and depressed. We don’t focus on His abilities. We focus on our inabilities. When you see no way out, of course you’ll feel trapped and saddened.

Exodus 20:2-3. Israelites have just been delivered from slavery. God doesn’t want them running their lives by the rules of the old land so he gives them rules on how to live life free. 

The first thing He says to them is 

““I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me.”

Exodus 20:2-3 NLT 

If you look up the definition of “god” you’ll find it associated with words like worship and adoration and admiration. Whatever or whoever receives our worship, adoration, and admiration is our god. God wants us to make Him our priority. 

Rule #1.

Obtaining freedom from anxiety involves keeping God #1. Not our jobs (or lack thereof). Not homework. Not friends. Not boyfriends. Not girlfriends. Not spouses. Anything else you could name doesn’t count as God. 

But when we focus on God we learn things like true love (click this link & the ones below).

We learn that He is our refuge so we can run to Him at any time.

And not just any time in a fearful way but any time and confidently.

We learn that He’s forgiving

We learn that He’s patient.

We learn that He is merciful.

We learn that He can bring to fruition things that are seemingly impossible

We learn that He understands us.

Yup, understands us. 

And loves us exactly as we are

But too much to leave us there

When we trust Him with every aspect of our lives, He directs us. And He doesn’t just direct us in a far off, distant sort of way. He cares about every single detail of our lives. 

The God of Christianity isn’t at all a tyrant as some have presumed. He is the One who brings meaning to life. 

He brings good things to those who follow Him.

And our God is very good.

just wait. [pt.1]

I only have one verse for this one. Or at least I think I do. I often start off writing about one thing and then Holy Spirit guides me in a completely different direction. Truly, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (And…that was verse number two). 

Today’s focus verse is one I’ve stumbled across several times.

The smallest family will become a thousand people,
    and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.

    At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” – Isaiah 60:22, (emphasis mine)

 I’ve thought about writing on it before but haven’t taken the time to do so. And maybe I guess it’s because I don’t like waiting or the topic itself so, deep within my subconscious, (in true Freudian style), I’ve purposely overlooked it. No matter the case, here it is – the blog about waiting. 

(Oh no…I just thought of several other verses…here we go again).

Now, in order for this Project to work, I have to be really honest with you. It’s a bit difficult because I’m balancing the fear of the unknown – I don’t know with whom exactly I’m being honest – with the fear of not being honest enough to the point that you, Reader, don’t know me and then this whole thing would fail. Well, let’s just get to it.

the past.

I’ve never been the best at waiting. I remember the days when my mom would come home sleepy from work and she’d fall asleep on the couch. Sometimes I’d ask  for snacks. It was as if I waited for those half-asleep couch moments, but I don’t remember being this skillful or forward thinking as a child. I remember the snack – Chewy brand granola bars. (Eating those several years later, I realize they aren’t really that great). One day she told me not to ask her for things when she was half-asleep! It was a reasonable request. But today I think that spoke more to my impatience and lack of self-control than I could have possibly wrapped my 9 year old mind around. 

I’ve never been really good at waiting. I was more of a “Why not?” kind of kid. In my own right I was a rebel in many things but not the kind you see in leather jackets in TV and not the kind that experimented in the way your mind probably wants to wander. But my inability to wait to think things through has repeatedly led my mouth to say things I only half mean which usually gets me in a whole lot of trouble.

Mm…no, I’m not being honest enough. I’ve been that “pushing past boundaries girl”. I usually don’t set out to test boundaries. I always set out to do what I want to do. That reminds me of Jessica Rabbit’s famous phrase “I’m not bad really…I’m just drawn that way.” (Seriously, that was such an an inappropriate movie for kids). And you know, I don’t want to pretend I’ve been the bad girl who broke the rules every chance she got. But as I’m looking through the Bible and especially the 10 commandments, I’m realizing I’ve fallen short and since all falling short/missing the mark is labeled sin, and all sin is displeasing to God, I’m on the same level as you no matter what you did and despite the differing consequences. 

Waiting

  • Breaking commandments #1 and 2, I’ve had other gods in God’s Presence. I’ve listened to my own reasoning, explained things away, been disobedient, trusted in myself, and especially trusted in my own timing. 
  • #3 takes a bit of thinking but I believe it applies. The third commandment is not to misuse God’s name. This is usually applied to saying it unnecessarily or not treating His Name with respect, but I believe it goes further than that. If you say you’re a follower of Jesus, then your words, actions, and even thoughts should reflect Him. When people look at you, they should see Jesus. They should be inspired by your call to a higher set of standards than anyone on earth could possibly provide. Every time I haven’t waited, I’ve misused the name “follower of Jesus” because I haven’t displayed who He is to other people. 
  • This one also takes some thinking. When I haven’t waited, it’s because I covet. I covet the great fashion sense someone else has. I covet her confidence. The list goes on and on. This opposes commandment #10. 

There are other ways my impatience/refusal to wait has directly affected God’s standards on: 

  • Purity
  • Self-control
  • Substitution/settling for something less than Jesus’ promise to give us “the more abundant life”.

But I read something today that has already begun to change my mindset. 

the future.

In part 2, we’ll talk about zitsfleisch, being still, conforming our will to God’s, the importance of “I, the Lord”, and more stuff on waiting. I promise I didn’t write this in parts just to make a point. I just know that there are people with less than remarkable attention spans because I am one of them.

the present.

I’m reading this book called “Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. 

One of the sections talks about this lie: “I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings”.

Here are a couple of the excerpts that really stood out to me: 

“Our society has bought into the philosophy that there is (or ought to be) a remedy (preferably quick and easy) for every unfulfilled longing. We are encouraged to identify our longings and do whatever is necessary to get those “needs” met.”

“Whether married or single we must recognize that it is not wrong to have unfulfilled longings – they do not make us any less spiritual. We must learn to accept those longings, surrender them to God, and look to him to meet the deepest needs of our hearts.”

Think about that. 

There are things this earth can’t satisfy. Every one of your longings won’t be met. But when the Lord is your Shepherd, you won’t be in want. You’ll have everything you need

Psalm 34:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.”

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis

just write


the present.

I get so easily distracted. I like to do ten thousand things at once. very recently I’ve been distracted. As I so often do, I dreamt about it. I dreamt about impending distractions. Even in this moment I’m distracted. I want to write so perfectly…eloquently…I don’t know. Sometimes it’s good to just type.

A verse that keeps popping into my mind is Matthew 6:33 –

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)

So very often – even a few days ago, I confess – I flip the verse. I choose the order. I follow my own lead. And, it’s so strange, because so very often I find myself saying “I wish people would do things that make sense” and yet I find myself doing things that don’t make sense far…too…often.

Have you ever experienced that?

You’re on a roll and then you get derailed and then your insides are raging because you chose not to do the right thing.

Well, I started this blog to be honest. I started this thing because I want to be open. I want you to see that I’m a real person – no holier than thou – and I’ve got my share of struggles just like you.


the past.

A few weeks ago (or months, I don’t exactly remember), I heard (or read) somewhere that as we get closer to God, He conforms our will to His will, so that when we ask Him for anything, He’ll give it to us because our will has become His will and He wills to do what He wills.

Did you follow that?

Let me add another verse for context:

Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

I’m slightly nerdy so I love definitions:

delight-definition

God will give us the desires of our hearts when we:

  • make Him our thrill
  • become captivated by Him
  • take great pleasure in Him

When we make Jesus our priority, we get closer to Him. As we get closer, our will changes. We don’t just see things from our limited perspective – our will is expanded to include the things we can now see better about the world. God then helps us say “I don’t want my will to be done, I want your will to be done, God”. In that way, God will give us the desires of our hearts. It may not look like all the things we’ve ever wanted but it will definitely look like God’s will – and trust me, if you haven’t already learned, you will eventually discover that His way is best.


the future.

I remember telling one of my best friends that I feel weird talking to God about “the desires of [my] heart“.

She helped me remember that God made us. There is absolutely nothing we can do that would surprise Him. He already knows what you’re about to say before you say it, but if you want the close relationship that leads to Him giving you the desires of your heart, it comes from talking to Him about everything – like you would with your best friend.

One step that really helped me is starting a short Bible reading plan. Youversion created the “Bible App”. You can look up topics on anything – money, sex, drugs, and Jesus (that phrase is the future title of a book I’ll write, so look out for it).

I encourage you to put your trust in Jesus. Make Him your priority. He is absolutely so faithful. I promise to post about His faithfulness on this blog every opportunity I get. He was faithful in giving me the opportunity to get through this…to overcome the distraction.

Don’t let your desires for “all these things” divert your attention from the one who will set you free. You don’t have to face everything on your own. There is a very real God who is very much on your side and cares very much about the desires of your heart.

Live free.

just start

the past.

sunny days on the asphalt hill offer so much freedom. we lay back, watching the clouds, identifying shapes as scientifically as seven-year-olds could. on the left is the playground. to our right the school. behind us lies a world of grassy adventure. these days are the best days. I often find myself looking back here..clinging to what I remember. 

I love the monkey bars but I also love the swings. I propel higher and higher and soar into the blue-white unknown. the swings never break, although the pit in my stomach flip-flops when I think of it now. higher and higher still, I fly. I jump and land on soft bits of tire. I made it. I landed. I’m free. I’m safe.

the present.

I knew I wanted to blog on the 27th. So many great things happen on the 27th, e.g. my birthday (only five months away)!! 

But I was okay not getting my thoughts down. If it didn’t happen on the 27th, I’d get that last minute wave of inspiration on the 31st.

I’ve grown to hate New Year’s resolutions. When you think about it, each day is the same. Each day has the same value in it. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the next day, then you’ve got a gem in your hands – the day itself is a blessing. But more importantly, why start tomorrow what you can start today? Our New Year’s resolutions needed to be started yesterday. 

the change.
Project XY is about a change in mindset. It’s about freedom. Freedom from insecurities. Freedom from status quo. It’s about facing everything that frightens you until you can be frightened no more. It’s about being bold. It’s about holding ourselves accountable for the past and shaping a better future. It’s about doing something new. 

Project XY is about safe community. We’re all on this road together. We’re neighbors. If one falls, we’ll help you land softly and help you back up.  

It’s about pointing each other toward a God who says “You belong”, “I’ve got your back” and “Sure you can come as you are, but I will make you better.” 

It’s about letting go. Letting God. Moving on. Moving forward. 

I don’t know how long this project will take. I don’t know exactly what it looks like. And can I tell you something, Reader? I’m afraid. Afraid that my wildest dreams will come true. Afraid to leave my comfort zone. But I want so badly to be honest with you, because I know that in honesty there is freedom. I know someone is waiting for me to be the person God has called me to be…

Dear Reader,

Pardon the delay.