Friday, December 9, 2011

Victorious Living

A couple days ago, during my daily Facebook perusal, I noticed a status that got me thinking.
A friend of mine, who had been experiencing some difficulties in life posted, “Well, things just went from bad to worse. Life hates me.” I know what she was feeling; I have felt that way in the past. Sometimes it really does feel like getting ahead is impossible. But for some reason, something about that statement didn’t rest well with me. The problem with that statement is that it took all responsibility off of her and placed it on something that isn’t tangible.
Instead of looking at her life and seeing where she may have caused things to go wrong, she found solace in placing the blame elsewhere.
The danger in doing that is that we make ourselves victims.
And if we live as victims we miss out on victory.
We all do it. I think at one point or another we all have played the victim. The question is why? Why do we choose victim living over victorious living?
When you play the victim you immediately become your own worst enemy. You let go of all control and place it in the hands of things like life. Why? Because it’s easier to blame things on life than to take responsibility.
But, no matter how much you want to blame things on life, you know deep down that life has nothing to do with your situation. You are where you are today because of choices you have made. And when you leave the control in life’s hands, you find yourself stuck. If you are expecting life to get you somewhere, well good luck. Life isn’t able to do that. If you live like you have no options and no choices, then you will probably end up out of options and out of choices. Who wants that? We need to make a change. If we change our attitudes, we can change our actions. And if we change our actions, I am willing to bet we will see our circumstances change as well. But we can’t do this by letting life happen to us. We have to put on our armor and fight back.

We need to follow Christ’s example. He was born into a world that was destined to reject him. But what did he do? He overcame that world. WWJD right? What Would Jesus Do? John 16:33, that’s what! His life here was anything but easy. Life isn’t meant to be. We will always go through things because we live in a fallen world. That is why our lives are talked about as battles. Life is a fight. And unless we live this life as over comers, we will always be the one laying on the floor with stars spinning above our head at the end of each round. The bible says that in all things we are more than conquerors. Why? Because of Christ’s love alone. That is all we need to prevail.

So when your circumstances are daunting, and the world around you looks bleak, remember two things: 1) The creator of this world loves you with an unconditional love that will never disappear. 2) The creator’s son, Jesus, loves you so much that he went to the cross in your place. That and that alone is all we need.

Does that mean life won’t be tough? No.
Bit even when our choices aren’t at fault for why life is the way it is, we are still called to be like Christ! Christ lived to be victorious. So we should follow His lead.
Stop following yourself in a circle of frustration. Stop playing the pity game. (If you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t get you anywhere)

Look at life through different eyes.
Change your perspective, change your life.
And, as one of my favorite pastors says, “Have some words of victory in your mouth!”
Proclaim the goodness of the Lord and you will see it!

P.S. the friend with the status has chosen to change the way she looks at life. She is now keeping a journal of all the things she is thankful for. She is following Christ’s lead and working to overcome!

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Revelation 3:19-22
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Romans 8: 37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Journey to the top.

You’re standing at the foot of the mountain.

Staring straight up at what seems never ending.

It didn’t look so tall from afar, but now that you are right up next to it, you begin to grasp the vertical mileage.

Thinking of climbing that mountain is exciting, but there is a small part of you that is already feeling defeated.

What kind of difficulties am I going to come across?

How long until I will reach the top?

Will I ever reach it?

What if I am not the climber I think I am? What if I end up hurting myself?

I can’t go to the top if I am wounded.

Maybe I shouldn’t even try.

God … if you love me… just place me on top.

How many of you have been in this place? How many have stared up at the mountains in your lives and just wished you could blink and be at the top? I know I have. Sometimes life gets overwhelming. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t enough time in the world for all of the things I want to do before I die. I have often wished that God would just lean over the mountain, swoop me up in His big God hands and place me on the top. But I think I know why he hasn’t.

Have you ever been to a party where everyone knows each other but you? It’s like showing up on the last day of camp. Everyone has experienced something together; everyone has this sense of comradery. Everyone has something to celebrate, except you.

Imagine being on top of that mountain with all of the people who just finished climbing. You’re standing there perfectly clean and dry while sweat is rolling down their cheeks. They are breathing heavy; their bodies are all scraped up and bruised. Each of those bruises is a story they get to tell. Each of those scrapes is a story you missed out on. Everyone is talking about their journey up the mountain. They are laughing together and crying together. And all you can do is stand there and listen because you don’t understand.

The view looks completely different to them. They don’t just see a valley below; they see the depths from which they climbed. They don’t just see hillsides; they see the moments they thought they would never make it. They aren’t just on a mountain top; they are standing on a place of victory. They’ve learned something about themselves. They’ve seen what they are made of. And as excited as you are to be on the mountain top… your heart aches because you know you will never be able to appreciate it the way that they can. Why? Because you don’t understand its value.

Sometimes you have to start at the bottom in order to appreciate the top.

There are things to be learned along the way. And no part of the journey can be left out.

You say you want something so bad, how dedicated are you? You want to be high and lifted up, but are you first capable of being humble?

f you can see your destiny waiting for you at the top of the mountain, then I suggest you start climbing. The Lord knows what you want; He wants to see if you are willing. He wants to see your faithfulness.

He is with you every step of the way. And He is waiting for you now. Stop getting distracted by your thoughts. Stop letting the enemy fill your mind with all of the possible ways you could fail. Focus on what God can and will do with you. The sooner you set out on your climb, the sooner you will reach the top.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Never Too Late

Sometimes you feel like you have completely missed it.
You jump on a train hoping and praying its the right one, but when you get to your destination its not at all what you thought it would be.
So you begin looking for things to fulfill you and satisfy the itch you started out with.
But like always, all of these things end up leaving you even emptier than before.

You look in the mirror and see a washed up version of yourself.
Then you take a look back and wonder where you went wrong.

"Where along the way did I lose belief in myself?"

At one time you had vision.
At one time, you knew exactly who you were.

If you think hard enough you will remember exactly when it happened.
You will remember the time when you were at your best.
And then you'll see where it all went wrong.
At some point along the way, the voice of man became louder than the voice of God.

Sometimes as humans we get so caught up in what the world says we are supposed to be doing, that we stop hearing God.
We become so distracted by the "timeline" of everyone else, that we miss our own way.
But whoever said we're all supposed to be carbon copies of each other?

We each have a calling.
Everyone in this world has a purpose.
But you can't live out yours if you are so wrapped up in living out everyone else's.

Thankfully we have a very patient Father.
He knows that the enemy has spent his existence trying to confuse us and alter our path.
He knows that as humans we will spend many years wandering around in the desert before stepping into our persona.
But He also knows that His plans for us are irrevocable.
And He has waited patiently for you to come to this realization.

So take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember who you are.
Because its never too late to jump back in.

Remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Remember that the Lord has plans to prosper you. To give you a future and a hope.
And Remember that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion.

If His plan for you scares you or is hard to explain to others, that is a good indication that you are in the right place. :)

"Its going to be wild, it's going to be great, it's going to be full of Him."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wild Flowers

"Once the shepherd stooped and touched the flowers gently with his fingers, then said to Much-Afraid with a smile, 'Humble yourself, and you will find that Love is spreading a carpet of flowers beneath your feet.'

Much-Afraid looked at him earnestly. 'I have often wondered about the wild flowers,' she said. 'It does seem strange that the unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, nor who will even appreciate it.'

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. 'Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,' he said quietly, 'and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return.'

'I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only a few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can dimly guess at. Every inner response of the human heart to love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.'

'Many a quiet, ordinary, and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which love's flowers and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight where the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with his friends.'

'Some of my servants have indeed won great visible victories and are rightly loved and reverenced by other men, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about. Learn this lesson now, down here in the valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you.'"
-Hinds Feet on High Places , Hannah Hurnard, pg 47-48

This is one of my favorite excerpts from "Hinds' Feet on High Places"
I felt it would be helpful for almost any woman to read.

I believe one of the most difficult things for us to do is to love without the promise of something in return. When we love, it seems as if we take every vulnerability within us and lay it on the table. We put up walls to protect ourselves but even when we think we are guarding ourselves, we have expectations. Whether those expectations are visible for all to see, or whether we are hiding them in the deepest crevice of our soul, they exist. And in this life, those expectations are seldom met.

It is easy to slip into self pity when our expectations fail us, mostly because we are taught in our fallen state that we are deserving. We are taught that the world owes us something.
But the important thing to remember is that we do not love to be loved. We love because we are commanded to. We love when we are wronged. We love when we are humiliated. We love when the world puts us up on a cross and crucifies us. Why? Because Christ did it first.

I have so many beautiful friends who have so much to offer the world.
And maybe the right person hasn't noticed. Maybe it feels like they never will.
But I encourage you all to continue being beautiful from the inside out.
Do not change for the world. Remain the wild flowers that you are.
Because even when no one else appreciates you, your father in heaven does.
You are the reason he smiles. And nothing the world has to offer can ever compare to that.