My “Ring by Spring” Strategy

We all have that friend who is soon to be married and oh look now they’re having a baby, and there’s three more! While you’re sitting there like, “What the?! I swear we were just fighting over baby dolls last week, how’d you get a real one so fast?”

We’ve seen it, experienced it, maybe we’ve even been in one of these “you’re too young to get married” weddings. With so many social media apps and websites it’s become easy to keep up with all the people you know starting young families. As commonly said among young adults today (in a  very whiney unattractive tone), “All my friends are getting married and having babies!” which is an overstated thought, and frankly I’m tired of hearing it. Not because of the weddings, but because of the heart behind the sentence.

Although you may see these beautiful celebrations of marriage, relationships and babies… there is blessing in the waiting. Remembering that God moves slowly, and I do mean slow, like a sloth slow this does not mean He has forgotten you. By no means at all! Don’t give the enemy the satisfaction of feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have what other people have.

Ever heard the phrase, “the grass is always greener on the other side”?

Dare to imagine you can do more things with your life.

You have no spouse, no kids, no full time job, or any kind of responsibility requiring all of your attention (all good and important ones I desire to have one day as well). You can literally do anything! Love it, enjoy it, praise God for it! Because eventually, you could be posting “engaged” on all of your media. Just learn to love where God has placed you and don’t let your heart ache so much for not being where someone else is.

I’d be lying if I said being single everyday was easy. It’s not, I have my days where it really can be hard and I want to just feel sorry for myself. The truth is, I may never get married but if I trust in my Savior it doesn’t matter if I get married or not because He knows what’s best for my life.

I invite you to fully embrace and love where the Lord has placed you. Although the enemy would have you thinking otherwise, seasons change. Rejoice at this different life you get to live, it’s unique. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at times, God sees the big picture and knows what his masterpiece will look like when it’s complete.

If we’re being brutally honest, this life was meant to live for others not you. When you’re tempted to feel sorry for yourself, I’d like to challenge you to find someone to love on. Opportunities to serve are endless, people will always have needs. As Christians we’re meant to be a light to others, not a cloud to the lost because we’re stuck in our own muck of feeling sad for ourselves by complaining, “all my friends are getting married, and I’m still SO single”

Stand up and put on your armor of God, people are going through tragedies and God picked you to love them. Are you going to follow through?

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares about you”

1 Peter 5:6-7

Advertisements

Please Bring an Updated Resume

At any job interview they ask you to bring an updated version of your resume. For obvious reasons, they need to know if you are able to do the job you’ve applied for.

Is this person a hard worker?

Do they have the qualities we need, want, and desire of our employees?

How are they with customers?

What do past employers think about them?

In high school my schedule was packed enough that I could get by without needing a job. Then I went into full time ministry for a few years after I graduated. Now I’m a college student who cannot just “get by” without a job. Unfortunately this means my resume has little to no work value on it that people will recognize in the work force.

I have been updating my resume for various summer jobs applications. As I was writing it out, it seemed silly some of the things I was putting down “Head Leader for a Children’s Club” and other various such titles, that don’t necessarily sound impressive to the secular world. Yet I know I’ve learned important valuable skills even though the title of the position may not sound impressive. I know that if I can get an interview, I would be able to prove myself.

In the Old Testament we have the classic story of a boy named, David.

David was young and his resume read, “shepherd boy” not exactly everyone’s first pick when looking for a giant killer. That is until David was able to get an interview with the King and defend his title.

“But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:34-37

New Living Translation

The title, “shepherd boy” doesn’t sound so silly anymore. David was given this opportunity and he seized it. He seized it so good he cut off the head of the Philistine and gave it to the King.

“There you go sir, told ya I could do it.”

No matter where the Lord calls you to go, He will equip you for the job. Even though all odds may be against you, God loves to prove that because of his greatness the weak are able to do anything.

“…God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”

1 Corinthians 1:27

And in return we are able to give Him glory for helping us do what we could not have done in our own strength.

(Originally published on May 23, 2016)

Be Still

For someone like me who likes to stay busy the idea of, “Be still and know that I am God” can sound to be frank very boring.

15471574358_8888d23456_k-2
However, God is not boring, He’s mesmerizing. Although I may not always want to be still when I take time to do as Psalm 46:10 says, the realigning of my mind can be transforming and I look at my circumstances differently.

Yet, this does not necessarily mean that you must sit down, be quiet and stay there for several hours. No, being still can happen in the middle of the day. Being still can happen during a worship service when you are in the presence of the Lord and you can’t help but be still and know that He is God. When you have had it up to “here” with other people and their crud. When you’ve been fighting all day, week, month, year to keep sane during the constant waves of life, be still.

Because at the end of the day with whatever it may be that’s flooding your mind God is stronger than our struggles. He knows better than anyone else and you don’t have to put up with it alone.
So, “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor terrified because of them. For the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

You are not in this alone.

(Originally published on May 6, 2016)

An Ear to Lend and a Heart to Hold

I am not a good listener.
Seriously, I do not listen very well at all. I stumble into things (physically), over things (verbally), and I most certainly can be a very distracted conversationalist. Throughout the years I have grown in my listening ability but even now I am pretending to listen to my roommate as she talks to me. I am smiling and nodding in agreement because for the most part, I know what I am hearing. She’s describing that she is tired but with many more words. I nod showing I understand, I hear what she is saying, and I care.
Wait… do I really care?
Tonight as I was at a Bible study we were reading from Romans and two simple verses gave me a light bulb moment. Romans 12:10-11 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”
That is when the light turned on.
I listen to people with lazy ears, half the affection I should be, and I don’t think about taking delight in honoring them. Simply put, we need to care about others more than ourselves. But when we put that into practice are we actually showing the people we speak to that we care?
Unfortunately in a conversation I know a person can tell if I am really giving them my full attention. When I don’t make eye contact, as small as a glance at my phone, my computer, whatever it may be that tips them off that I am not giving them my attention shows that I devalue them as a person.
My roommate knows I care and love her but she probably also knows i’m not listening incredibly intently. It is fairly obvious I am not hanging on her every word.
Why? Why do I not listen very well?
Because I choose who I am going to put value on and in the moment I chose to value myself, my time, and thoughts over her.
Whereas my focus needs to switch from me, to enthusiastically working for the Lord by putting her first, giving her the attention she deserves, and not getting lazy with it.
So I’m going to put down the phone, I am going to choose to care about others more than myself, and hopefully show the people in my life that I value them.
But more importantly that Christ does.
(Originally published on February 29, 2016)

A New Person

Have you ever wanted to restart your day?
You woke up late, something went wrong, and you just want to rewind so that you can get it right.
Or maybe it is not the day you want to restart but perhaps the year. If you had known from the time the ball dropped on January 1st, 2016 entering into the new year with joy and gladness that every moment afterward would be a downward spiral… would you want to go back and fix it? To know when the errors or mistakes were going to happen so that you could prevent yourself from the pain or even just the hassle of cleaning up your own mess?
I wouldn’t say that’s exactly how the past 25 days have been for me but you could say I’ve had a lot of those days where I wanted to redo some moments and prevent mistake. We all know from experience this is not actually possible. As much as we want to change our past all that can change is our attitude.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”NLT
JPEG image-AED50B77A7F3-1-2
The brain is a funny thing. When you decide that you are mentally going to make this day better, you are taking a huge step in the right direction. We must remember God knows what He is doing, and when something goes “wrong”, there may be a reason for it. There is not a definite way of knowing every reason for every single thing that happens. However, we can know that through different trials in our lives ultimately God lets them happen to show us our need for Him.
Sure, I would like to redo some moments but when I really think about it, I know I can learn from those, and call out to God for His grace to do better next time. I see my need to rely on Him. When I don’t know where I’m going in life, if I am in the right major for my degree, or what job I should look into, I can remember Romans 12:2. That I should not mimic the behavior of the world. In fact what the world is concerned about should not concern me. I have authority and stability in an unchanging powerful Savior. Instead I can let God transform me into a new person. Then I, “will learn to know God’s will…” for me, God’s will is good and pleasing and perfect. Beyond all belief, I can rest assuringly that when He directs, it is without fault.

(Originally published on January 25, 2015)

People Are More Important

In light of my last post about extending kindness beyond our normal comfort zone, I have definitely been challenged this November.

So this may sound repetitive but I felt it was important to share, so stick with me for a little bit and let me know if you can relate.

Do you ever have those times where you finally get to sit down and get some work finished? It’s been piling up and there just hasn’t been the time. There’s maybe an hour or so in your day to just knock it out and check it off your list. You have time to do it in the next couple days but you don’t want to wait too long, and you want to have some of your weekend work free. Then, the door opens and someone comes in to chit chat. They don’t need something important they just came to say hi, and before you know it a few minutes goes by and they’re still just talking about shoes and whether or not they should have insoles for their flat feet. They aren’t sure if they should use Dr. Scholls or go generic and get something cheaper.

As you know how irritating this is because you’re smiling and nodding while inside your head you’re thinking, “PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE. I don’t want to be mean but I procrastinated and I need to get this done so that I can have free time this weekend. This was my alone time, and you’re interrupting to talk about your flat feet. I hate feet!”

Still nodding your head, fighting your flesh and then you remember…

People are more important.

People are more important than papers.

People are more important than emails, or math homework.

They are treasured by God just like you are and God wants you to listen.

As I’ve had similiar scenarios come up often these past few weeks I have often been reminded by that still small voice, that people are more important. Every time He reminds me of that I am able to relax, know that God will give me the grace to get that work done later, and I am able to listen to that persons heart which is really saying, “I don’t care what you think about which insole I should use, I just need to know that someone will listen to me, talk to me, and put me first. I just need to know that someone cares about me.”

And you know what happens when you listen to people?

Your ministry grows, and lives are changed. People have seen you care about them and put them first when you could have put yourself first. Your platform to share Christ with them has grown more than it would if you had turned them away.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves.”

Matthew 7:12

(Originally published on November 27, 2015)

Extended Kindness

One of my dear friends from Life Action sent me a, “Package of Happiness” the other day. It was completely unexpected, and kind. I am thankful to have such a friend that goes out of her way to express her value of me. Which got me thinking…

IMG_5440

Luke 6:35-36 says,

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Whenever I read a verse about being kind in the Bible I tend to think, “Yes! Be kind just like Jesus was. Only… not to some people right?”

This may be more of a subconscious thought rather than something I say out loud.

However, I think God has been trying to get ahold of me on this. Today as I read about being kind in my devotions Luke 6:35-36 you could say, poked my heart. I heard the word surrender. God wants me to surrender bitterness as an excuse to refuse kindness to others.

 I only want to be kind to those whom I believe deserve it. When you give out kindness and people are ungrateful, my instinct is,

“Oh, well in that case, you won’t be receiving anymore kindness from me!”

Why? Because, who in their right mind would be kind to the unkind and ungrateful.

God.

God is kind to me when I am ungrateful for the blessings he lavishes on me.

God is kind to me when I am ugly in my heart and think unkindly of others. God is kind to me when I don’t deserve it. Which let’s face it, is all the time.

People go to feed the homeless and believe they are doing something really good for going out of their way to give someone a sack meal. But when a family member, or a neighbor asks for help the umpteenth time, forget it. They need to learn how to be responsible.

Maybe.

Maybe they do need to learn how to be responsible but why not teach them? This issue is moreover a posture of heart than it is your actions.

You can have kind actions but an unkind heart or motive behind those actions.

Yet, when your heart is aligned with God’s and he gives you the grace to have a kindness within yourself, kind actions will flow without thought, but instinct.

Being kind is going above and beyond. Not for yourself or for how others will see you. Being kind is to be done because as believers we are called to be, “kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

As excruciatingly hard as this can be, it can be done with the grace of God.

“Be kind to one another tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”

Ephesians 4:32

(Originally published on October 5, 2015)