You are not your choices.

I work with young children, ages 2-7, as a behavior and mental health therapist. I have one little client who was telling me about how bad of a kid he is. I was trying to explain to his little 3 year old mind that he is not a bad kid, but his choices were bad. His 3 year old brain didn’t comprehend.

And then today I realized, neither did mine, for myself. I have been upset lately about the consequences of my living a selfish life. These regrets about living for myself and ignoring God’s plan had gotten me down, had made me feel so unworthy of God’s continued pursuit of me. I mean, it is true – I am so unworthy. BUT! Just because I have made bad choices I am not bad. As a redeemed follower of Christ, I know that my decisions hold weight in my life but they do not define my life.

So it’s hard for a 3 year old to understand that he is not a bad kid because he makes bad choices – his heart is good and he is kind, but he messes up. And so do I, a 26 year old woman. But thankfully, I am also a follower of Christ which means my mistakes and choices post-salvation also don’t dictate where I’ll spend eternity.

Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice.

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“Drop Your Crutch” God Calling for February 4

This post is from God Calling.

Read it.

Today, I needed it. Big time. Biggest time.

Get on it:

Just go step by step. My will shall be revealed as you go. You will never cease to be thankful for this time when you felt at peace and trustful, and yet had no human security.

That is the time of the True learning of trust in Me. “When thy Father and Mother forsake thee, then the Lord will take thee up.” This is a literal dependence on Me.

When human support or material help of any kind is removed, then My power can become operative. I cannot teach a man to walk who is trusting to a crutch. Away with your crutch, and My power shall so invigorate you that you shall indeed walk on to victory. Never limit My power. It is limitless.

Be Still, beautiful : the thing’s God is teaching me currently

You know how I know when God is trying to teach me something? When I hear the same thing over and over.

At the beginning of 2013 I was a very self-serving Christian. I consider myself strong in my faith, but that doesn’t make me perfect. On January 1, 2013 I decided to radically change my pursuit of God. Of course I’m still no where near where I want to be, but I am encouraged by God’s pursuit of me at the same time. Brothers and sisters, I am learning how deeply God is in love with us. 

I’ll admit I am a bit of a sucker for romantic love scenes, both in movies and real life. In November I went to the wedding of a dear friend who’s now-husband I met for the first time at the wedding. The groom performed a song he wrote for his bride during the ceremony which chronicled how he fell in love with her, from the first time he saw her. He was in awe of her from the day he first saw her. It was a beautiful picture, but then I think of God feeling the same about me… Only even more extreme!

“The King is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him for He is your Lord.”

Psalm 45:11

Did you catch that? He’s enthralled with you. So madly in love with you. More than we can imagine with our human minds. Read it again. Here’s the screensaver for my phone:

worthy

You can’t fathom it. You just can’t. He loves you and finds you worth more than you can even begin to understand and especially more than you can compare to some human love story.

So,that’s one of the things God has been teaching me, but there are numerous other verses that keep coming up in my daily life. To me, that means God wants me to know them, to take them to heart, and to obey them. They include:

“The Lord will Fight for you, you only need to be still.”

Exodus 14:14

“Be still and know that He is God.”

Psalm 46:10

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17

And then last night at church, we discussed giving glory to God through our lives. I was reminded that if there is something I am wanting, I need to check my motives. Do I want to be married for myself or for the glory of God? Do I want to have a better paying job so I can buy more things, or do I want a better paying job to somehow give God glory through the extra income? Seriously, I am reminded to examine my motives. When I finally am able to pray for God’s will in those circumstances, then should I pray for them at all. Until then, I am praying God give me a heart to do His will.

But, two things have been made clear this past month:

1. I need to be still in the situations of my life – right now God has me where He is getting most glory. I believe that because despite my itch to move out of various circumstances He keeps telling me to be still. Stillness is not a strength of mine.

2. God thinks I’m dang beautiful.

What is God teaching you right now?

The more people I meet, the more I need God.

I got off the phone tonight with someone and needed immediate prayer. I was so annoyed. Frustrated. Irritated. Mad.

I had to pray, I had to ask God to quiet my mind and give me thoughts that were glorifying to Him, rather than the nasty thoughts running through my head. “It’s people like this, Lord, that remind me of my significant need for You. At every moment.” And immediately I was at peace, but also pondering…

The more people I meet, the more I need God.

Not really. But sort of. I mean, I need God at every single moment of every single day no matter if I knew no one, or if I was the president of the U.S. But, the more people I meet the more I realize I need to be more dependent on God.

To hold my tongue for me.

To change my vindictive thoughts.

To speak truth to my heart.

To remind me whose I am.

To help me love my greatest enemy.

To bring me to righteousness.

I need God in order to serve God.

It is a sobering thought. But then I think about the stupid people I meet every day. I’m not kidding, the parents of a lot of the kids I counsel are lacking some basic skills I thought all human beings had. That shows my own stupidity/ignorance.

People will forever be difficult… And God will forever be there to help me “cope.”

In the Word Wednesday

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “That is the first commandment, the entire gospel. ‘Fear God’—instead of the many things which you fear.” This is a dangerous statement. How can we fear the God who identifies Himself as love? That throws many of our ideas about who God is into question. We know there is a call to fear the God of love, but we don’t know what to do with it. Our understanding of love doesn’t mesh with our understanding of fear, and so our understanding of God suffers.

This paragraph in the article, Why Fear is Essential to Faith, in Relevant Magazine (online) by Casey Hobbs really struck me. I so often battle with accepting that God is not just full of grace, but is also a very just God. It’s easy for me to praise Him for His justice when I’m wanting a karma-like-punishment for someone who hurt me. When it comes to justice in light of my own shortcomings and sins, however, I’m short of words to praise Him for being just.

My human brain cannot wrap itself around the vast differences, and yet the simplicity of likeness, of these two characteristics of my God. They seem such polar opposites, yet in some ways I find them so similar, love and justice.

I’m still marinating on all of this. But, I am so thankful for those like Casey, who cause me to think a little deeper, mid-week.

Read more from Casey Hobbs, here.

Read more from Relevant Magazine, here.

September Self-Control

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with my lack of self-control; with eating, with being lazy, with all kinds of things.

But, continually I have been reminded of this verse:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

As a child of God, I was given the spirit of self-control. I have it, not it’s time to utilize it!

It has been a good reminder as I got to grab that 3rd cookie… I am going to really try this month to utilize and build my self control. Like with many things, the harder you work at something the stronger you become.

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

The Secret of Self-Control: The New Yorker

All About Self-Control: Psychology Today

Software for your Computer: Steve Lambert

You were created in the image of God!

It seems like its been years since I’ve written anything! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but after this week it’s smoooooth sailing, baby!

I moved 2 weeks ago and find myself sitting by the pool as I type this. School has become crazy and my part-time job/internship has moved to full time (with my other part-time job still going strong!). This next week will be the most busy for me in my grad school career, as I make some hard presentations, write some difficult papers and take my comprehensive final (oh, you know – the one I need to graduate). Assuming I pass (I’m supposed to be studying right now) I’ll then have to take my licensing exam!

Aye aye aye!!

But really, none of that is why I stopped studying and began writing this. I was laying here thinking about who knows what and somehow I began listening. God wanted to tell me something irrelevant to why group counseling is important or what theorist created what theory.

He asked me what I thought about Him. No, not verbally, but he was speaking in my heart and mind. What He enlightened me to was that whatever I believe about Him, therefore I am. Likewise, whatever I believe about myself, therefore I believe about Him.

As a human, I am created in His image.

So if I believe God is all knowing, I too can be given the wisdom I need.

If I believe God is powerful, I can find power through Him in my weakness.

He is perfect, therefore I should celebrate the good in myself!

He is slow to anger, so should I be!

But, if I believe I am unworthy, I therefore I believe that about God.

If I believe I am not able to do a task, I believing neither is my God.

So think about what you believe about God and begin applying those truths to yourself. And then think about the way you put yourself down and realize that you are believing those same things about your God.

Now search for Truth and believe it!!

Jesus Calling

I just wanted to share this excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It just is so good.

Be encouraged.

“I want you to experience the riches of your salvation: the Joy of being loved constantly and perfectly. You make a practice of judging yourself, based on how you look or behave or feel. If you like what you see in the mirror, you feel a bit more worthy of My Love. When things are going smoothly and your performance seems adequate, you find it easier to believe you are My beloved child. When you feel discouraged, you tend to look inward so you can correct whatever is wrong.

Instead of trying to ‘fix’ yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love.”