Friendships can be really tricky sometimes, and I was recently reminded of one that is very broken. Okay, let me first share what happened. It was Sunday morning, I woke before the girls while Elisha was on the bed inching his way closer to the side. (I'm at that stage with him where you block the baby in with big fluffy pillows and hope he doesn't fall off in the few seconds you look away)
I woke the girls and got them dressed with minimal tears (high five), had a quick breakfast and got out the door on time! (Miracles happen) They all went into their classes like brave girls, I strapped baby boy into the carrier and headed into church. I sat on the left side, which I haven't sat on that side in months. I found a seat on the end in case I needed to sneak out with Elisha, and just as I sat down I saw her.
I saw the woman who said some really hurtful things to me, made me feel like a complete failure and has unfollowed me on all socials (which is a big deal now a days) and avoids eye contact in public. I saw her sitting with her husband, in the spot she has always sat in, with her hair in a cute braid, sipping her coffee. I didn't even see her eyes, I didn't even talk to her in the lobby, I didn't even see the side of her face and EVERY SINGLE emotion from that really hurtful friendship came up.
Worship started and I closed my eyes and tried to focus, really I did. But I couldn't. I opened my eyes and I saw the back of her head again and began to replay every detail of it all. I was questioning myself again, wondering if it all REALLY was my fault. If what she said about me, my character, was really true. But the insecurity I felt quickly turned to anger as I remembered the words she said about the ways she thought I should be, the dirty looks she has given me since then and the complete fallout we have had. Halfway through the second song I realized I was completely stressed, shoulders tightened, swaying with Elisha trying to get him to sleep but squeezing him as I replayed all the hurts, all the words, all the painful memories. I took a breath and relaxed my body. I whispered, "Oh God, how did I get here? All by seeing the back of her head?"
I don't think I am alone. Maybe your emotions aren't as intense as mine, maybe you have the incredible super power to let things go, like really let them go and they just don't bother you anymore. (Oh to be like you) Or maybe you fall somewhere around where I am. Where you forgive someone, but sometimes, you can be caught off guard or be reminded, out of nowhere of it all. All the hurt and pain and plain confusion that someone brought to your life. And your mind takes you back like a time traveling machine and you are reliving all those moments again. You snap back to reality 5, 10 minutes later and you have to somehow shake it off, and move on with the day and pretend you aren't re-visiting that painful memory.
I don't have some amazing epiphany to tell you. In fact, that Sunday morning I am describing happened very recently and I am still trying to work my way through it all. But what I do want to share is maybe having expectations on each other steals us of the grace we are supposed to give? When relationships become like contracts and we have check lists that we think people should be performing at a certain level we lose the ability to love people for where they are, which is right where you are. Flawed, tired, busy, and trying to figure it all out.
When I know I want to change the way I think and the way I live I study the life of Jesus. It is the one thing I know that can really help, because He did it perfectly, walking with broken people, handling people who speak lies and hurtful words, people who compare and compete, loving those who misunderstood Him, not holding grudges, all the things we struggle with, He didn't.
He kept the peace, but was not a peacemaker.
He loved people, but was not a people pleaser.
He was inviting, and not intimidating.
He was content, not competitive.
And one big thing I am learning is we are all "In Process"
Our salvation is complete but our sanctification is never ending. (Thank you Griffin for that)
So, that friendship, that woman that was in your life that maybe said the wrong thing that you seem to not be able to shake. The time she let you down, she overstepped or didn't step in at all. When she left you feeling insecure, when she judged you, mistreated you, gossiped about you, put expectations on you...she is in process.
Her process is messy like your process. Her heart needs to be wrapped in grace in all kinds of ways just like yours. So even if you never got the, "I'm sorry", even if you never found the closure, even if your hopes were never fulfilled, if you can learn to take all of that to the Father, then that is how you will learn to let it go, that's how you can be free.
Because the voice you listen to is the voice that defines you and He can go beyond your hopes, He can speak truth over the lies that were said and believed about you and about her. He can use anything, anything, anything for our good and He can take our little and make it much. (It's all throughout the Bible and He does it all the time. )
I am learning that in the process of letting it go, you really gain what you really want. Peace.
I have a hard time being told what to do, or I should say "had". I like to think I have grown leaps and bounds in this weak spot. Right Griffin? I can't exactly tell you where it stems from, but receiving correction never felt good to me. We have been married a little over 8 years and when we first got married this was a really hard battle. But I have continued to see something the past few years that I just can't shake, I vow to continue working on this in my life, or really allowing the Lord to prune me.
So there's this couple, (fictitious btw, just a scenario I have seen) this couple is amazing and have come a long way in their faith and in their marriage. They have moved up in their vocations and are doing really well financially. They have been married for over 20 years, they serve and have a beautiful family. Everyone loves them. But when I was speaking to the wife about her husband in reference to a mindset he had, she simply said, "That's just the way he is."
That phrase, struck me. THAT'S JUST THE WAY HE IS. So, this way that he has been his whole life is just how he is going to stay? This way that he walks, talks, prays, handles conflict is just how it's going to be for the rest of his life? These two people have been carrying the same habits, perspectives, and methods of handling life for their whole lives....and they are okay with that? They have settled, you could say. They have accepted who they have come to be and they have settled into that way of living, of being. Oh I hope I never ever settle...
Griffin is the love of my life. Griffin is who God gave me to love me and who He gave me to experience, in human form, how much God loves me. He does a pretty incredible job at it too. But I will say with us...I hope who we are now is not who we are in a year, heck who we are tomorrow! I have been learning that God is way more interested in who we are becoming then who we are now. God has freed us from our past, is revealing Himself to us in our present and is very passionate about our future. (He is the only One who knows the future)
I began to really focus on my struggle with taking correction because I don't want pride in my life and I don't want to be stuck in my ways. And the only way to not be stuck in your ways is to be able to change, to grow. Yes, it's painful, yes, it's very very very humbling, but I couldn't imagine being who I am now when I'm 40. I turn 31 this year, and I pray that by the time I am 40 I have inched, day by day, closer to the woman God has created me to be. And the best person to get me there is my husband Griffin.
I have grown in my ability to accept his words because I know that he is for me. He desires me to be the best Heather I can be, because he desires to see me the way God does. And vice versa. I never want Griffin to get stuck in a habit or mindset when I know there is a more heavenly way. Griffin has too big of a purpose for me to let him settle. I am his wife, his best friend, and one of the main voices in his life. I hope I never say, "That's just the way he is."
There is a very important component to creating this culture in your marriage, and it is the ability to create a safe place. We have learned to not attack each other with correction but to time it correctly and cover it with grace. I am laughing now as I think about this but Griffin has often started one of these moments with the sentence, "First off, I love you..." haha! He knows my heart is fragile, so he reminds me of his motive and then shares the moment during the day that I could have done better. And I still get uncomfortable but I honor his words and love that he loves me enough to make me uncomfortable so he can help me be better! We have too much at risk to not keep growing, to not keep becoming. We have four souls we are called to raise who will one day have babies of their own. Your becoming affects more than just you.
I encourage you to create this safe place in your marriage and to always push your spouse to who God created them to be, to who they are becoming. It's worth the hard moments, the humbling conversations. It's so much bigger than you. Embrace it.
Here is to never settling.
I hate my arms. It's my insecure spot. No matter what I do or how hard I work they always look the same. I think it's a lot genetics but it's the part of my body I try to cover up the most. This might sound silly to you or you might be nodding your head in agreement over your arms or that one part of your body that you struggle with. Well one day I asked Griffin what he thought, and do you know what he said, "I never noticed them."
How do you see yourself? Not how do you want people to see you, not how your instagram portrays you, but how do YOU see yourself? I think self-acceptance is a never ending process because we are always changing and always growing so there is always room for us to accept who we are and who we are becoming. Honestly, it's accepting who we are NOT that is often most important.
"And there we saw the Nephilim, and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."
Let me quickly give context. This is in the middle of Moses sending spies to go check out the Promise Land. Twelve spies went out and ten came back with the same report. The land was flowing with milk and honey but the people there are giants, and the cities are like a fortress. And catch this, they said we looked like grasshoppers compared to them, and so this is how they saw us...like grasshoppers. This scripture, this story is saying because I thought of myself as a grasshopper they saw me as one. How we think about ourselves is how others will think about us.
I think we all want to be seen, or heard. We all want to make a difference, to put our stamp on this world. I think there is nothing wrong with that. I think we have a divine calling to do exactly that in all different ways, but many of us try to create our own titles. Whether you are the fitness girl, the foster parent, the writer, the stay at home mom, the boss mom, the homeschool mom, these are all great, but it's not your title. (And your disease or what has happened to you is also not your title). Why give ourselves an earthly title when we were born with heavenly ones?
We are in Christ becoming more Christlike...how beautiful. There is no striving there, no seeking or searching for purpose or attention, or likes and comments. You are already fully accepted, embraced, and when God puts you somewhere then only God can take you off. If man puts you on a platform or stage then man can remove you, now we definitely don't want to put ourselves in the hands of another created being when you can put yourself in the hands of the Creator. He is the only one who knows how to work the pottery wheel.
My hope for us all is as we long to understand ourselves, and accept ourselves, we find the answers in learning about God's nature, His heart towards us, who He is, and what heaven is like. That's the only way we will really know how to see ourselves. We are made in the image of God. You are made in the image of God! I am made in the image of God. Oh Father give us eyes to see all that you created us to be.
I was sitting at our coffee table coloring with my two youngest girls and I found an old journal. I thumbed through it looking at old prayers and smiling to myself seeing how God has answered those cries from my heart and how far we have come. But then I turned the page and I found a list. It was entitled "All the Rejections in My Life". Yikes.
As I read the list it started from a teacher in first grade. It stung a bit as I read her name. Then boys in middle school who took advantage of me, my first kiss who utterly broke my heart. As much as a heart can be broken at fourteen. (I pray my children don't have their first kiss at that age, what a mess!) The list filled the whole page and some of them were happening in the moment I was writing the list. And most of the people...were women. (That explains the walls I have built) Then at the bottom of the page was a short two sentence prayer. A plea really. For God to free me, to cut these chains from my heart and mind. It was a short prayer but the words were raw and real.
I know I'm not alone. I bet you could write a list. And how many of us carry the weight and the words from those people? How many of us have made those rejections the narratives of our lives and the way we function? Words, lies, and moments that were never a part of God's design, yet we have allowed those moments to define us or have unknowingly allowed the enemy to whisper the words from those rejections every day into our minds and that's how we view ourselves?
Can we take a moment and shed some light on this? Let's go there together. I want freedom for you. I'm safe and God is even safer so here we go.
The word Rejection is defined as: the dismissing and refusal of.
Synonyms are: Refusal, nonacceptance, no, exclusion, cutting out, set aside, cutting dead, ignoring.
Any of those words trigger anything in you?
But here is the truth, You are not set aside you are set apart. To be set aside is to be rejected, but to be set apart is to be given an assignment that requires preparation. I vividly remember a few years into our marriage I was struggling because so many of my friends from college weren't speaking to me anymore, wanted nothing to do with me. I remember sitting with Griffin and I said, "What did I do wrong?" He simply said, like he usually does, "Have you ever thought that God is removing people from your life the deeper you go with Him?"
Have you ever wondered if you did something wrong and that's why you were rejected? But really it's God removing people, it's God pruning you and preparing you. Rejection can lead to self-reflection and the tweaking of us by God in the quiet and private is the saving of us in public.
God speaks to many women when they are alone. I love how He does this. Think about it, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, Mary was alone when the angel appeared, many other women that I can't remember right now because I am so pregnant and have lost all ability to string thoughts together. God meets you in your lonely, in your fear, in your journey. He is just as much in the process as He is in the promises.
A step with facing your rejections is forgiving. Forgiving those who have rejected you, because we both know it's more about their own hurts and less about you. And I won't write past the F word without acknowledging how hard it is to actually do. But look what God showed me a page later in the same old journal.
For Giving: For giving grace, for giving myself space to heal, for giving to others what I long to be given to me, for giving love and mercy.
What consumes us controls us and when we focus on rejection panic replaces peace. But rejection of the past is not projection of your future.
I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out. God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Psalm 34:1-4
And in every disappointment is a God appointment
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:22-26
Rejection turns to rejoicing when you bring these moments into the light. When we go there with the Father and let him separate the lesson and the lie. Because when we can maximize God we minimize lies we have believed. When we hear God's words over you, you stop believing the worlds thoughts of you. It's freedom. It's redemption. It's everything.
I have been on this incredible journey this year on experiencing the love of the Father. And just like only He can do He has shown His provision, His intentional love and kindness with many incredible moments of doors that He has swung wide open. And to feel His love and His Fatherly voice saying yes to me is such an amazing feeling.
Have you had one of those days? The victory moment, the mountain top experience? Oh it just feels like you are walking on air. While I do love those moments, I want to talk about the closed doors. I want to talk about when the Father says, "No" or "Not Yet" or the always so difficult, "It's not time, just wait." I have come to appreciate the closed doors more than the open ones.
I had been praying for months and months for a certain door to be opened for me. I did my part, I put in the work, I reached out and prepared and planned, and completely put myself out there. After a few months this door was shut, and not just one door shut but five. Five doors shut in my face! It hurt and I felt completely like I failed. Was I wrong in hearing the voice of God telling me to pursue this? Did I do something wrong? Did I knock on the wrong doors? Does God not want this for me? I thought He was a loving Father, this is a gift, this is a good thing. Why is the answer no?
The painful but beautiful truth is that when God shuts a door, He is showing His ultimate love and protection. When God shuts a door, He is saying essentially, "This isn't my very best for you. I only give what is best."
For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise!
When one of my daughters ask for something, it is very easy to say yes. It feels good and it rolls off my tongue. But it takes another level of love to say no. And if I think of my reason behind saying no it is mainly to protect them. No, because they need rest, no, because you can't have ice cream for breakfast, no, to more screen time, no, to going to a certain place. And right now my "No" to them is much easier to say compared to when they are teenagers I am sure, but regardless of the reason behind the No, the no always comes from a place of protection, security and my deepest love. I can see beyond the moment that this isn't the best choice for them. I can see a week from now, a few hours from now, or years from now that this...that me saying, "Yes" to this won't help them. It's hard to say no, I don't like disappointing them but I know it is necessary because my perspective is bigger than what they can understand.
That's what parents do.
That is what the Father does.
This doesn't take the sting away from the closed door, but if you can just take a breath and see the unseen. To just believe that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), that He gives good gifts in abundance. (Luke 11) Then you will be able to lean into His love while you wait in the hallway for the next open door.
Was it a negative pregnancy test? A job you didn't get? A relationship that fell apart? The next season in life that you really wanted to get to?
If the Father recently shut a door, believe and trust that it wasn't His best, it wasn't His timing, and that this open door wasn't a part of the story He has for you to play. I know..more than likely this makes NO sense right now, but there is so much we cannot see from our view. We are down here looking around, and He is up there looking down. He sees it all.
And maybe...just maybe you aren't ready for that open door. Ouch I know...but maybe there is more for you to learn before He can open that door. (This is entirely why my doors were shut, all five of them) He is not just about blessing you He is more about making you. And in the making comes breaking. More often than not something must be broken first before it can grow. Think of a seed. It must be broken into the ground to produce life, fruit, or grain. And more often than not we have to be broken first.
So my dear friend, grow in grace learning to love His sovereign protection over your life. It's a sweet and tender place to grow.
To the Girl who Struggles with Comparing,
I totally understand. It is so hard to be fully confident in who you are and too easy to think you are missing something that someone else has. Like breathing, we do it and don't realize it until we have thoughts that have been running through our minds for so long until they run straight down to our hearts and they come out in passing words or unsatisfied glances in the mirror. It's true...you and me, in a world that tells you beauty fits in this box and success fits in this circle, it's easy to feel like a triangle that just doesn't belong. But I am here to wrap my arm around your shoulder and remind you that you can't be measured. Maybe your waist can, but your soul isn't measured, and your soul is the only thing that matters.
And when it comes to material stuff, the house, the clothes, the wants and the needs... we often feel like we have been shortchanged, like God is holding out on us. Like a child in time-out who now misses out you feel like you have been led to the same fate.. you are missing out. Someone has it better, someone's got it good. Which means if they have it good you must have it bad.
You know what I think is causing us to get stuck in a cycle of comparing? The quantity of time we are seeing what other people have. I recently read something that said, "Pay attention to what you pay attention to." Pay attention to what gets your attention and then ask yourself why? Force yourself to stop and not just go on with the day and carry now feeling as if it has attached itself to you. But stop and ask why. You might be surprised what you uncover, but it's no surprise to your heavenly Father what is there.
In Matthew 20, where Jesus is teaching the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. This is an illustration exceptionally brought to life by the best story teller, Jesus. He is talking about salvation and that it doesn't matter how late someone comes to Christ in their life they still get the beautiful gift of eternal life. But I noticed something new, like you can often do no matter how many times you read the Bible, that the workers were content with what they had been given for their wages UNTIL they saw what the others had.
They said yes to this amount that was given to them and they believed it to be fair, but their mindset changed when they saw that others worked less and were given the same as them. They began to compare. "They didn't work as hard as I did why do they get this? They didn't earn it!"
And isn't that just like us. We are content UNTIL we scroll through instagram and see that So and So got a new house, or she's pregnant again. Or she gets her nails done every week. New floors, a new car? The luxury vacations, the Christmas cabin... I could go on. We didn't feel discontent until we started taking in what everyone else has. We close out our phone and then that 30 minutes of comparing comes in comments out at your husband when he gets home from work or your kids or yourself.
We were just not created to have so much coming at us throughout the day. Our minds can't handle that in less than an hour you can see over 100 peoples highlights and you're left feeling completely inadequate and maybe that God is holding out on you. And if you reading that line made your heart sink a bit. I would start there. Do you really think God the Father, who made you, and loves you the most is holding out on you? If that is a yes, take those thoughts straight to Him. He will show you in a million little ways how He has blessed you and provided your whole life. A Father only withholds if He knows there is something better. And for His daughters He wants the best. The very best.
And as my arm is wrapped around your shoulder, I encourage you to stay awake. Stay awake to what you have, who you are and who you are not. Pay attention to what gains your attention and see if you really want it to. Fix your eyes on the things that are REAL, that you can reach out in touch. That little device in your hand holds too much that is edited, opinionated, and automated. You don't need to see it all or be it all, just be all of who you are. The world needs more of that.
How many of us "unplug" on a weekly basis? How many of us after spending time on our phones scrolling we feel more drained than before we started? How many of us, "remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy"? It could possibly be one of the most forgotten commandments. And it could possibly be one of the most important parts of our lives. And most of us, if we are honest, are missing it.
I have been feeling this pull to understand this more. And of course, like only He does, everything I read and see keeps pointing me back to this topic. I love how the Lord does that. He gives us lots of moments to learn the lesson, and for that I am grateful. He is ever patient isn't He? But what I am learning is that our culture is teaching us, and our children that we should consume more than we create. Consume by watching TV, getting more toys, clothes, and treats. And no, I don't think any of those things are wrong, but it's the volume at which we have them that seems to be off balance.
When God first established work is was meant to be a blessing. He didn't give us work to hurt us, it was a gift to help us. To let us have dominion, to build, to create. But most people don't feel excited about their work. There is no joy and life in it. It has become wrapped up in the "American dream" of working hard to retire so you can go do a bunch of hobbies that you really enjoy. That was never God's dream.
Work has become Toil and it was never meant to be.
Work was created to make us come alive and to make the invisible God visible. There was never meant to be a disconnect between our spiritual life and our life...it's all supposed to flow together, to be together and work is a HUGE part of that. Having a job was one of the first calls to man from the beginning. To have a purpose and to do something great... now that is in ALL of us!
“We need to relearn how to power down, unplug, disconnect, take a break, and be in one place at one time. We forget that we’re not a machine. We can’t work 24/7.”
I have come face to face with my exhaustion recently. I can't keep up with the pace of the culture, the instagram feeds that I feel I need to live up to, and the demands of my life..my actual life, not internet life. Supporting Griffin, leading a small group, my free-lance writing job, taking care of the house, homeschooling, keeping three little girls alive while also teaching them about Jesus, the need for boundaries and why we don't sit on each other (Yes I really have had to say that) and the importance of washing our hands. All the while working out, making good choices, and somewhere in there chasing my crazy God-sized dreams! Phew...I am exhausted from typing this. I am realizing I need to get back to the way God created it all to be, especially the REST part.
Heaven and Earth were finished,
down to the last detail.
By the seventh day
God had finished his work.
On the seventh day
he rested from all his work.
God blessed the seventh day.
He made it a Holy Day
Because on that day he rested from his work,
all the creating God had done.
Genesis 2:2-4 The Message
God didn't rest because He was tired, He rested because He was done. He blessed it, and made it holy. So essentially, when you Rest you are Blessed. And when you choose to rest, to be done working, to turn it off, to unplug, you are honoring and remembering what the Lord God did. It's a holy thing to rest, to be still. God never intended us to work every day, that was never His design. He knew the limitations on our bodies and minds and rest is the GIFT for us. I have started a weekly practice in my life, it's a choice, and it is one I have to be disciplined with. It is the ART OF THE SABBATH. Once a week for a day, I turn off my phone, and I "get away" mentally so to say. I only do activities that bring life. I don't discuss things that bring stress or emotional exhaustion. I spend time with no noise, no music, no TV, no outer voices, just the Lord and me. And it has changed everything.
It's the incredible choice to keep your perspective Heavenly. To remember, the Sabbath, is to remember what is important. To remember the Sabbath is to essentially put things in their proper place in your life and to remember who you are and WHOSE you are.
All of these can be found in REST.
The Reality is we cannot let Rest become Leisure.
Leisure by definition is: spare time, time off, free time for your enjoyment.
Rest by definition is: to cease work or movement in order to refresh oneself, recover strength, to let up, to slow down.
So binge watching that show or meaningless scrolling on facebook or instagram...is that refreshing yourself? Is that recovering your strength? Is that helping you let up and slow down? Or is that causing you to feel jealous, to feel like you are missing out, to feel discontent, to compare and compete, to lose sight of all of who you are.
I pray you remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy. Learn the lost art and make it a part of your life. Unplug from all of the things that distract you from real REST. There is a way that God intended you to feel refreshed, and it will never leave you empty.
This is big...and honestly I think when it comes to our relationship with Jesus this is...everything. When we need to make a decision, when we need wisdom, when we need confirmation we are relying on being able to hear His voice. What I have realized from my own personal experience and from talking with friends is most people don't know if they are hearing His voice or their own, and that most people don't know how to even hear Him. They sit quietly and wait but all they hear are crickets and a few minutes later, they are writing their "To-Do's" for the day or they are thinking about something that happened the day before. It is so difficult to hear Him. So I want to help! Now I am NO expert...this is just me sharing my personal journey and how I have learned to hear Him talk to me. I want to share five truths that I think if we can grasp these, you will begin to hear Him in an intimate and direct way in your life.
1. Know that He is Always Speaking
"My sheep hear My voice." John 10:27
I love this scripture, and to me this means He is ALWAYS talking, we just need to learn to be in tune with hearing Him. I remember often I would pray, "God just speak to me, just tell me what to do." But the truth was that He already was speaking to me. Sometimes I think we ask for things that we already have. We ask for the fruit of the Spirit when we already have them, we just need to claim them. And we ask God to speak to us, but He is. He has been speaking to you every day. It's time now to get your mind and heart wired to hear Him.
2. Understanding Yourself
If we are made in the image of God, then understanding who He made us to be will put us more into alignment with who He is in our lives. For example: I am a very sensitive person. All my life I feel like I have been led to believe that this is a negative thing, a nuisance. I was "too much" and an annoyance or inconvenience. But what I am realizing is that my sensitivities are actually my strength. I am "A Feeler" so I actually can "feel" the Spirit so to say. Being overwhelmed by compassion for someone, sensing that a store or a place I am in is not safe, that maybe I shouldn't watch this TV show, that I feel that I need to hug this person, or pray for someone, or do this or that. The more I am aware of those natural feelings, I am realizing that they are the Spirit directing me. Now if the emotion I am feeling is anger or frustration, clearly those are not of God so that's just my own ugly flesh, but what I am saying is that many times, those feelings are the Spirit speaking to you. Bring those under His authority and watch your relationship with Him blossom.
My husband? Yeah, not a feeler, he is a knower. He knows the Word. The way the Bible comes to life to him just blows me away. And this matches his personality because he loves strategy, puzzles, putting pieces together to make a bigger picture. God made him this way, so when he reads scripture, the Holy Spirit begins to speak to him, that this story in Genesis actually is a parallel to this story in the gospels, and this character is the same as this character and it goes on and on. How has God made you? Be aware of your personality, He is speaking to you in the way you naturally see and experience moments.
3. Find Your Space
We are all so different, and what is so amazing is that the Spirit knows that and He wants to connect with you right in that place. So the key is to find your space. Carve out time every day to connect with Him. It might be your ride to work in the morning. You turn off the music, silence your phone and you dedicate the next 20 minutes to listening and praying and communing with Him. For me, I get up at 6 every day, workout and then go on a prayer walk around my neighborhood. It's hit or miss if my neighbors think I am crazy for talking out loud, but the truth is, I feel Him every morning I do it. And the more it has become a habit, the more I crave it, and the more I expect for Him to meet me there. Find your space, whatever it looks like for you. A comfy chair with a cup of coffee, a walk on the causeway, your back porch, maybe it's your lunch break. Make it a habit, make it a priority. I promise He will meet you there. If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak. Allow Him into your home, your car, your workout, your walk, your morning, afternoon and evening.
If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak.
4. Determine Who is Speaking
We hear more than the Holy Spirit's voice. We also hear our own voice and the voice of the Enemy. It is vital to be able to determine who is speaking. Here are the ways you can differentiate:
5. He Speaks in a Whisper
When I am really trying to teach my children, yelling at them or screaming will never help them gain wisdom. I might "win" the moment but I have lost the opportunity to speak truth into their lives. The Spirit wants to teach us and guide us, but He won't yell. That is not a loving Father, that is not the heart of the Father or His character. It is always in a whisper, it is always in a calm, loving manner. He wants to teach, guide, direct, and lead, but we must quiet the noise of life, the noise in our minds and listen for the whisper.
It might come to you as you read the Bible, it might come to you in feeling, in a sunset, in a word from a friend, a smile from your husband, a laugh from your child, in a vision or dream, but it will always be in the quiet, it will always be in love, and it will always be in alignment with the Word of God.
Modesty. It needs to be talked about. In my mind it has become black and white but in our culture it is more of a gray color. And I know it's trendy, and I know it's hot outside, and I know it's more comfortable...trust me...I know. But I just think we need to chat. And before I begin, this is not a rant...I don't like those. This is just my heart, and yes it is my "thing that gets me fired up" but... I want to just talk. Because below the clothes, the lack of clothes, the finger tip length rules and the v-cut shirts, there is your heart and my heart, and there is a reason why. And I want to talk about that.
Modesty is one of those words that has left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Feeling like it is a bunch of strict rules you have to follow. That you have to wear turtle necks in the flippin summer (I hate them. Claustrophobic anyone?) And that it is all about helping men not stumble because we are apparently fully responsible, even though, c'mon...we sure do have a very big role. But I want to talk about the reason behind the choices, and the thought behind the decisions.
Because modesty comes from a heart of humility. And humility is not boasting about self, but boasting about God. Let's talk about God and the Bible for just a sec.
Modesty comes from the Greek Word, kosmios which means, orderly, respected, decent, virtuous. This word is used when talking about men and their behavior in leadership of the church and women in how they dress and carry themselves. So how men behave in a leadership position in representing Jesus is just as important as how women dress? It is the same word after all...
(And all of those words that describe modesty up there. I would love those behind my name when someone is describing me wouldn't you?)
But in this status driven culture, with too many profiles and feeds to try and keep up with, it is hard not to join the race of success, to crave the likes and want the followers. We want to put our best versions of ourselves on display, and I get it, those filters do a wonder on my very tired mama eyes.
But when it comes to modesty, how we dress, how we carry ourselves. What is the motive? What is the gain? And when it comes to each other as women....
It will either make someone jealous because they don't look like you.
It will make someone prideful because they think they look better than you.
Nothing. We gain nothing. And in that moment...the enemy gains it all.
This wasn't always black and white for me. But when Griffin and I got married seven years ago a shift started in me. That my body is his and that no one else needs to see it. You have heard the saying, "When you say 'Yes' to someone, you say 'No' to everyone else." Well that also counts with how we dress. How we dress needs to be addressed because what is going on on the inside will always be shown on the outside.
Are you angry on the inside? It will come out sooner or later.
Are you jealous or insecure? The words you speak will reveal the state of your heart.
Do you need someone to tell you that you are beautiful?
Do you need the looks of approval from men?
Do you need to flaunt your body because, hey you worked really hard to get it here and I am proud of it?
If you asked me those questions a few years ago I would have said, "Yes" to every single one. Every. Single. One.
An inside transformation reveals an outside representation. I found a complete and total confidence in who I am in Christ! A confidence that is so deep and real that I no longer needed others to tell me that I am beautiful, worthy, enough, fit, talented, or pretty. (Now I am a words of affirmation junkie so when someone is kind to me, I soak it in and appreciate it very much) But it doesn't sustain me. Only God can do that.
And when Griffin notices my outfit, my hair, my eyes...which he usually does on the days where I don't try it means so much to me and my heart flutters a bit. (Side note: Find yourself a man who loves you when you are bare skin, hair a mess, and workout clothes on.) Anyway...my heart flutters and it matters but it doesn't fill and shape who I am. Only the One who created me can tell me who I am. I began to cover myself because I wasn't look for another created being to fill me up. I am now already filled up by the One who created us all. The One we all should be looking to.
You cover yourself not because you think you are ugly, but because you know you are beautiful.
So what changed was a new way of thinking. It was a change on the inside that showed itself on the outside. And it has changed the way I dress, and it has dictated the way my daughter's dress. It has changed the way I want them to see themselves. It has changed the way I see me and it has changed the way I see you..
And oh friend to truly know your worth, to truly understand who you are...well..it changes everything.
My alarm went off at 6 am like it does every morning. I quickly hit snooze longing for just five more minutes. It was raining, one of those perfectly quiet cozy mornings. Then I heard the whisper of His voice say, "Get up. I want to go on a run with you."
I got dressed, splashed my face with water. I laced up my 5 year old nikes that are perfectly worn and broken in and I walked down the street and began to run. As the rain began to let up, I heard the birds all around me, singing, worshipping, doing what they were created to do, and I just waited. I waited to hear from Him.
I heard my breathing and my feet splashing in puddles with every step, and then He began to speak.
I am going to be very transparent here but before I do, I just want to ask you,
Do you feel unseen?
Do you feel hidden?
Do you feel lost in the place you are in, stagnant, not moving?
Are you trying to make certain talents or giftings in your life your calling when it was never meant to be?
Are you trying to imitate what you see on a screen as you scroll through the parade of photos of edited perfection?
Now that you have said yes...we can be in this together.
He said, "I want you to come into agreement with who I am inside of you. I didn't make you to be like her. I didn't design you to do these things that you think you should be known for. You are not to be known for anything other than to make ME known."
We have gifts and talents. We can be at a certain level in certain seasons of our lives, but that doesn't mean that those things are our purpose or our calling. Most of these moments in my life I see now as simply avenues to get me from here to there. To get me to a certain college, to get me to Griffin, to get me to learn how to lead, to teach me how to do this or how to do that... And now it's time to let them go. It's time to focus on the one thing.
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42
David was anointed to be king, yet he remained in the fields with the sheep, for years. His time had not yet come. You can be anointed but not yet announced (Grey) And so that in between time for him, the time of remaining hidden, doing the mundane, doing the same thing every day; tending to the sheep, was all in preparation. Do you feel like you have something big you want to do, but you are not moving? Are you wanting to get to the next season in your life and you don't understand why it hasn't happened yet? Why haven't you met the guy, had the baby, found the house? Why haven't you been able to break through with your job, your dreams, your mindset. You think, "When will I shake the old me, this wrong mentality, when will I stop struggling with the same things!"
I believe what we call ordinary, the Lord calls necessary. What we see as the mundane He sees as the making of you. To be made we have to be undone, because what we are standing on and have believed about who we are and who God is is shaky. A lot of times I believe we build our identity around what we can do, but it's really about building your identity around Who made you. It's the one thing...let go of the other things, and focus on the One thing.
We were still running and I began to speed up my stride and I heard the Spirit say, "Don't get ahead of me, and don't slow down." Every step matters, even the little ones. Every breath counts, even the hard ones. I have you right where I want you."
I don't know what you are chasing today, but I know Who is chasing you.
I don't know what your goal is in life, but I do know Who's got you.
Because it's not about performance, it's about the posture of your heart.
And it's not about power it's about your perspective.
Let's choose the One thing. Thank you for being transparent with me today.