Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just quit striving...

The past few days have been emotionally upside-down and side-to-side. I tend to get a little down (ha!) on myself when I behave a little less than perfect.

I realized that I have not been relying on the grace of God like I should be. See, God's grace is there because we aren't expected to be perfect. I'm not expected to be perfect...

(except by me!)

No matter how much I have been learning about God's grace over the past year, I still find myself striving to get "better", striving to be "less depressed", striving to "be" whoever it is that God wants me to be.

My common question to God is: "Am I ever going to 'get' it right?" I am looking for a destination to "arrive" at. I am seeking an "end point" to my journey. I am looking to fulfill some expectation I have put on myself. I have to strive to be someone other than who I am.

With all my striving and effort placed on changing myself and my behaviors, I have diverted my attention from God to myself. In the moment, I would tell you that I am just trying to be more Christ-like, more in sync with God, trying to line up my will and emotions with God.

Talk about a deception!

And THEN I wonder why I fall so hard in defeat and despair and depression! I can't MAKE myself "better". I can't change my behavior, permanently, on my own. But what I can do is:

Cling to Jesus.
Lean on Him.
Seek Him.
Meditate on God's Word.
Worship & praise His holy name.
Confess God's promises in my life.
Declare TRUTH...Jesus.
Get to know TRUTH.

When my focus is on loving and getting to know Jesus and who HE wants to be for me, the focus is automatically shifted from myself to Him. As I meditate on His truths, HE begins to change me from the inside out.


...just keep striving...



just quit striving...

just quit striving!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just keep weaving...

Don't despise the past.

Don't live in regret over your mistakes.

God knows! God plans! God uses!


God uses every detail in our lives to weave together a beautiful tapestry called our lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

A mistake often looks ugly. We sometimes spend so much energy wishing we had not made that mistake.

Picture the mistakes of our lives as brown strands of string. One brown strand (our mistake), by itself, is rather unattractive. It is bland and plain.

When we allow Jesus to touch our mistakes (the brown strand), He makes them shimmer and stand out, often causing them to be part of our biggest ministries.

Look at a piece of material or a blanket and notice the gold strand weaved throughout it to give it that beautiful and completed look. Without that, it is a plain, pretty, but plain color. God takes the pretty, but plain part of our lives and weaves in those things we think that God could never ever use to make us beautiful. God takes our "brown" and turns it into "gold"...

& God just keeps weaving...

Just keeps weaving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just keep enjoying...

My soul is coming alive again. My desire to dream is awakened again. My voice of declaration is full of holy passion again. I want to dance. I want to live. I want to go forward. I want to scream, "I am free!"

My first thought is:
"I've been here before."
"I let it die before."

My second thought is:
"Yes, I've been here before."
"I'm here again."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just keep receiving...

I sin. Often. I occasionally lose my temper. I occasionally will swear. I tend to still judge. I make poor choices. I smoke. I lust. I get jealous. I will tell a white lie here and there. I can be selfish at times.

I don't want to...but I do.

I grew up in a judgmental family full of the law and condemnation. I expected lightning to strike every time I sinned. I was going to hell no matter how many times I asked Jesus into my heart. If I was sinning when Jesus returned in the rapture, I would be left behind.

I had to be perfect, but even all of that would be canceled out if I committed even one sin. I was tormented at night with dreams of Jesus returning and taking everyone but me. My "best" wasn't good enough. Ever!

I lived in fear. I lived in a world with a "conditional" God. He only loved me when I was "good enough". When I was "bad", God turned His back on me. That's just who He was. Or at least, how He was portrayed to me.

I'm now in my 30s. I still try to be "good enough". I fail. I can't ever be "good enough" for Jesus. Never!

My walk with Jesus in the past 4 years has been one of learning who He is all over again! He never runs out of grace. He always loves. He always sticks around. He never walks away. He never turns His back.



I have to fight my insecurities often. I have to claim scripture often. I have to tell myself the "Truth" daily.

I DO NOT have to try to earn God's love. I DO NOT have to be perfect. I DO NOT have to be afraid of God walking away from me. I DO NOT have to be afraid of God's grace running out.

I AM God's daughter. I AM precious to Him. I AM beautiful in His sight. I AM cherished. I AM a new creation. I AM being renewed day after day. I AM going forward. I AM pressing on. I AM important to Him.

Grace. Amazing grace. Saved a wretch like me. Grace. Sweet grace.

I think I am afraid of abusing God's grace; therefore, I keep punishing myself just a little bit because then I will teach myself "a lesson" and never do it again!


That's NOT how God operates! That's NOT who God is! Jesus died and rose again for all of that. People are so leery to talk about God's grace because they are afraid of giving others permission to sin. What happens is that people, like you and I, torment ourselves because we can't ever reach that "state" of being "good enough".

So........... Here's what I've learned about GRACE:

  • It never runs out!
  • God freely gives it.
  • When you TRULY understand grace, I don't believe you can abuse it. The key word here is "TRULY get it".
  • Jesus WANTS us to receive it! He doesn't want us to beat ourselves up over our mistakes!
  • IT'S FREE! You never have a bill hanging over your head. There isn't a balance being added up every time you receive it.
  • It truly is AMAZING grace!
Satan is a liar. He wants to deceive you. He wants you to believe that you will NEVER be good enough. He wants you to believe you are "too bad" for God. If he can keep us stuck so we do not receive God's grace, we condemn ourselves, and it makes his job alot easier. We will sin MORE when we don't feel like we can receive God's grace. Satan is a liar.

Jesus died for you! Jesus died so you could have life! Life involves receiving grace! Every time! All the time! And it doesn't run out!



Jesus loves you! Turn your face and your heart towards Him. Receive His GIFT of grace and love!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let's keep growing!

I've spent the last half hour listening to a woman speak on YouTube about Radical Obedience out of love. It is great. It is wonderful. It's so amazing that I had to stop the video because I couldn't listen to even...


She speaks on God's love. She speaks on saying "Yes" to God. She has amazing joy. Amazing happiness. She lives an amazing obedient life.

I don't.

To be honest with you, at times I feel like a "little-girl-throwing-a-temper-tantrum" in a grown woman's body. Granted, I eventually say "yes" to God, but in the moment, I usually tantrum. Not always, but sometimes I really do! Especially if it involves ME giving up MY will or "MY way".

Now, if God asks me to give away my most comfortable pair of shoes to someone who needs a pair, I will GLADLY give that up. If He asks me to give away money or food when I have very little, I will do that as well. I've given plenty of material things away. It's easy for me. I do it, most of the time, without a second thought.

If He asks me to give up my time, I get a little squeamish, but I give in pretty quickly. "Ok God, I will do that." If He asks me to go pray for someone, I get a little squeamish, but once again, it's a pretty quick decision. "Yes Lord."

If God asks me to babysit for someone, I become just a little bit more irritated, BUT I eventually I joyfully serve those children. If He tells me He wants my poor attitude in exchange for His perfect joy & peace, I also get a little more irritated. Some days, I think I like my attitude. It keeps me safe. It keeps pe0ple out. It keeps me in my own little bubble, and on most days, I really like my little bubble.

When God asks me to give him my DREAM??? CONTROL of a situation??? My DESIRES??? My CIGARETTES???

really God?
"What if I say NO?"

(I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the world with such responses to God! NOT!!!)

But, in the event that I am the only one who would challenge God's question with my own attitude, He's still pretty patient with me. EXTREMELY patient with me!!!

I LONG to say "Yes" every time to God, but I don't. I LONG to willingly give up ME for HIM, but I always don't.

I tantrum often.

I'd like to think that I don't kick my feet very long anymore. Nor do I argue as often as I used to with God. I would also like to mention that I usually wait until I'm in private with God before I start my "discussion" with Him, whereas, arguing in the middle of the peanut butter isle in a grocery store kinda' makes one look crazy!

I say "yes" faster than I used to. I trust more. I don't ask for AS MANY explanations as I did in the past. I'm getting better. I'm growing. I'm learning. I'm going forward. The story of my life!

Jesus, in me, is growing me up. Little by little, moment by moment, reaction after reaction, and day by day. Question by question, I'm learning to say "Yes God' faster and with less arguing.

I may not be the woman in the video whose life is the perfect example of obedience; however, I'm not the infant on the floor throwing her first temper tantrum either.

I'm somewhere in-between


God doesn't want to make us into carbon copies of each other, but into carbon copies of Jesus. From what I have read of Him in the Bible, I think He's pretty versatile, wide-ranged, and extremely creative. He is also very "out-of-the-box", which would leave me to believe that He loves the fact that you, me, and the rest of His children make up such beautiful threads in the tapestry of His kingdom.

So although you and I may have big shoes to fill, we can rest in the fact that Jesus doesn't expect perfection, but progress. He doesn't expect us to become robots, all identical to one another, but to become the beautiful "you" He's created you to be.

growing :)