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 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