It’s Time.

When will we love people the way we are called?

One thing I can’t stop thinking about is how quick we are to place our opinions of someone onto others. This came up in conversation the other day, and now I am recognizing this all over. The specific scenario I’m referring to is when we pick out the mistakes of others & make those mistakes their identity. If you don’t think you’ve done this, have you ever said the words “they’re nice, but I just can’t handle their _____”, or “I don’t know if you would like them because they ______.” - fill in the blank. We say these things all the time, and if you don’t - share your ways of self control. After this came up, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The question I keep asking myself is - why do we look past all the good to find the bad? Is it our human nature to give that focus? Yeah, healthy skepticism is good, but when we become cynical we rob people of their true identity. First of all, our identity is found in Christ. So, if we’re focused on all of someone’s sinful nature are we even paying attention to who they are, who they could be in Christ? This is a serious question. Because I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if everything I’ve ever thought, said, wrote about someone was really just picking apart their identity to focus on their sin. Why do we do this? Why do we subject ourselves to this cynicism? Why are we so closed minded that we can’t see what our Creator sees in others, what our Creator sees in us. We don’t just do this to others we do it to ourselves. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Such a simple phrase, but is it really?

Because we suck at loving ourselves, we are failing to love the people around us the way God calls us to.

Love isn’t our judgement hidden behind “I’m worried about you.” Love isn’t our hurtful words hidden behind “I just need to share what’s on my heart.” If what’s on our hearts are words that sting, maybe we need to check our hearts! Maybe we need to look at ourselves and dig deep behind the surface. When did we stop caring about the effects of our actions. We live in a world that screams “I see, I care, & I will take action,” but when will the action come? When our schedules are finally freed up to think? This is me. All the time. “I’ll get to it later.” “I’ll pray about it.” “All in God’s timing.” - God’s timing is right now. We forget our God does not live in time. He’s not waiting on the clock to strike midnight. He’s ready for us to take action. He’s ready for us to step up and fight for our brothers and sisters. The terrible things that go on in our world are products of the actions we’ve already taken. I think it’s time those actions change. Yes, we should pray. Yes, God’s timing is real, but when it comes to loving our neighbors - He instructed us to do that in the book of Mark almost 2,000 years ago. So when will we finally listen?

Let’s be real.

Our plans aren’t Gods plans.

The moment the plans we thought were God’s plans for our lives go out the window, we are done. We are angry with God & ourselves. We want to “fix it” & go back to what was and how it was, previously. But really when I look at the places I’ve been in life that I believed were steps toward my future, it’s obvious they were not. It was my humanity taking over. Maybe from the outside it looked like I was glorifying God, but really, I was glorifying myself.
I had created this “perfect” little bubble of happiness & convinced myself it was of God because from the outside it appeared so. When truly, these were seasons I didn’t want to dig a little deeper. Because if I did, I would find out a lot sooner that this wasn’t God’s plan for my life. But who wants to be told they’re wrong or they have to start over? I surely don’t.  Something I often forget is that the enemy only knows our past not our future. He speaks to the insecurities and the once was not from a place of life or what will be.
So, when something or someone comes up from our past wrapped in a new pretty bow that catches our eye...maybe that’s not God’s plan. Maybe it’s a distraction from what He has planned. I look back on my past more so to learn from it, but it’s interesting to me how clear it is that what I thought was of God was really just something trying to grab my attention long enough to delay my future. I am continuing to learn that I need to stop and make sure I’m not letting something steal my focus.

I think about my relationship with often I’m seeking Him throughout the day and what might be stealing my focus from digging deeper in intimacy. Maybe it’s a person, maybe it’s an issue with priorities, or maybe it’s even something like a college ministry. Some of you may know my friend and I run a college ministry together. This is something that we know will only glorify God & bring young people closer to Him at a time in life that can be so rough. College is a time we find ourselves and grow, however, it can also be a time students build that strong relationship with Christ or fall away from it. It has been such a blessing to be apart of this, but if I’m not careful I could get stuck in routine rather than a close relationship with God & forget to seek his guidance, daily.

I only mention this because even things that could potentially glorify God can become distractions if we are going about them wrong. If you’re leading a small group at church & you stop communicating with God and seeking His guidance, that environment can easily become toxic and driven by your humanity. We will never know the plans God has for our lives unless we are walking with him daily.

We can try to manufacture God’s plans for our lives, but it will only end in heartache. He’s the only one who truly knows the deepest desires of our hearts.

Heartache looks different for everyone and it can be a tricky thing to maneuver. Personally I try to dissect everything and find the root of it all, and the reality is sometimes those roots are so deep I will never find or understand them. That’s where Christ comes in.

God is always right there behind us, when we’re sitting in our heartache, waiting for us to just turn around and give it all to Him. When we include Him in our hurt, not only will it change the way we treat ourselves but it will also change the way we treat those that hurt us. It allows us to give grace. It allows us to step out of that hurt and remember they’re human. Resting in grace allows us to have peace in the worst of times.

I will be sharing some personal stories soon about overcoming heartache & how leaning on God in those moments rather than blaming Him for them has deepened my relationship with Christ and the people around me. I love you guys and my prayer is that sharing my heart and stepping out of my comfort zone will encourage you to take a step towards Christ — whether that’s for the first time or you’ve just taken a few too many steps away from Him.

Please feel free to reach out whenever. I’m always down to chat about life & Jesus!

Let’s be real.

Loving people, loving life, & keepin it real.

God has been working on my heart big time over the last year, and I’ve gotten to this point where I’m asking myself “why not be real?” Why do I hesitate to be vulnerable? Why do I hesitate to be human? And I’ve come to the conclusion that I was/still am so stuck in the mindset of “what would the world think” instead of “what would God think”. I put a cap on how much I love the people around me, so I could protect myself. I withheld love to keep from getting hurt, when I should have been giving more and seeing the power of God and the blessings pour out. I never realized the way I love people affects the way they love themselves. I never realized that by changing the way I love would result in so much healing. But I still get stuck in the world. If I love too much, i’m too vulnerable. If I show myself too much, they will know me too much. If I have too much faith, I’m being naive. If I tell people I’m a Christian, they assume I’m judging them and they’ll judge me for it.

Being real about who I am and who God is has given me so much more freedom. Loving people is easier. Being honest is easier. Having faith is easier — trusting God is easier. Being real for me might look a lot like dancing around a parking lot singing at the top of my lungs — knowing that people might be staring wondering what’s wrong with me, but others might be wondering “where does her joy come from?”. *cough, cough* IT’S JESUS. Being real is telling my friends and family when I’m overwhelmed because I don’t have to be tough all the time. Being real is letting someone know that their words hurt me with a forgiving heart. Being real is letting my friends breakdown and cry on my shoulder. Being real is sometimes breaking down myself and crying on their shoulder. Being real is understanding that my past does not define me no matter what the world tells me — knowing that my identity is found in Jesus and that I am made new. Being real is also being honest about my past and learning from it.
The church promotes “being real”, but a lot of the time we do a poor job of being honest about our pasts. We want to hide them, lock them away, and say “Jesus forgives me”. And yes, we are forgiven, but we also have to realize that our past and how Jesus transformed our hearts is our testimony. We pretend like we aren’t human, and we make loving Jesus look so unattainable to the rest of the world. I need to, we need to break out of this mindset that we have to hide our mistakes from each other. Instead tell someone. Share with them, pray with them, and then learn from it. If we continue to hide our mistakes, we will continue to be a church filled with broken people. We are supposed to cheer each other on. Not just in our victories, but also in our defeat. Our quick judgment is what keeps people from sharing. The world’s quick judgment is what keeps us from sharing!

I recently heard someone say “we dehumanize people, so we feel okay about destroying them.” But honestly all we are doing is dehumanizing ourselves. All we are doing is depriving ourselves of the parts of us that are like Christ. We have trained our brains to automatically find fault in someone, so we feel better about judging them. The most love I have ever felt is after telling someone my biggest regret, biggest mistake, the thing I resented the most about myself, and they looked at me and told me I’m amazing. It was the perfect example of how God looks at us when we list off our imperfections. What if we were so REAL, we could look past the faults and see how truly amazing people are, how truly amazing we are. When and why did “being real” turn into an excuse to tear someone down and to tear ourselves down?

Let’s take steps towards being real. Let’s take steps towards being vulnerable. This is my step — sharing my life and thoughts with a bunch of strangers. It’s sometimes scarier knowing the people that know me are reading this too. I’m so excited to share about being real in my own life, and the changes I’ve seen in myself and the people around me. I still have more to be real about so keep reading!