Tuesday, March 29, 2016

To the Broken One

Oh, my lovely. You feel broken today, don't you? You feel defective, unlovable, and beyond repair. Maybe you're heartbroken over the man of your dreams. Maybe your family never acted anything like "family" to you. Maybe you can't have all the babies you wanted. Maybe you feel like the right guy will never come. Maybe you feel like your sins are unforgivable. Maybe you always seem to get the short end of the stick. Maybe you feel like you're devoid of talent. Maybe you just feel like a completely lost cause. Maybe every dream you've ever tried to chase has evaporated into thin air. Let me just tell you: I know this feeling all too well, and it is the sincerest prayer of my heart that no one should ever, EVER have to feel this way. It is absolutely the worst most hopeless feeling in the world to feel so broken. If you're here and you relate, I'm glad we can chat, but I HATE that you feel this way. I would do absolutely anything to make sure no one every hurts like this.










   



Maybe you're the strong/silent type when it comes to brokenness: you plaster a forced smile on your face and get about your day so no one can see that hurt. You work harder at hiding that brokenness than anyone has ever worked at anything. Fake happiness and pretending like it's all good feels safe to you.



Or maybe you're the one who lays it all out there on social media. You have come clean with your struggles and you feel like no one is there for you. It feels like no one is listening. It feels like no one cares. 



Either way, brokenness is isolating. You feel alone & scared, and most days you're just barely squeaking by. You may be temporarily distracted by things that take your mind off the brokenness, but that icky feeling always returns. You're frustrated that no one cares. You're sad that you're facing this all alone. You're envious that life seems so much easier for everyone else. You believe that you must be damaged to be in this place. The rest of the world keeps spinning on, and you're stuck here. Something MUST be wrong with you, right?



LIES! LIES! LIES!




"He is close to the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds." ~Psalm 147:3




Don't you listen to that voice that tell you you are all alone, because you are not. If you feel broken right now, you know what means? You are in the presence of God. Right now. He is right there beside you. He is in this with you. 



"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will lead your paths straight." ~Proverbs 3:5-6



Don't listen to that voice that says there are no solutions to these problems. That is your own understanding, and that will always lead you astray. But God never will, lovely one.



"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." ~Jeremiah 1:5



Don't listen to that voice that tells you that you are so broken that you have no purpose. God is saying to you "Of course you are good enough, my precious daughter. I created you with very specific purposes in mind."



"Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn God's will for you, which is good and perfect." ~Romans 12:2 



Don't listen to that voice that tells you that your brokenness is a defect. God's will for you is good and perfect. His has very specific ideas about how to use your brokenness for good, my love. All of the best world changers have been broken hearted. God does His best work in places of brokenness. The apostle Paul declared himself the worst of sinners, and look what God did with someone who once slaughtered Christians for fun.



To the precious gem reading on the other side of the screen, God has big plans for your brokenness. You probably don't see it now, but one day you'll look back and see exactly why you on a journey down this broken road today. God is making a beautiful masterpiece out of what you call a big, ugly, hot mess. Trust your brokenness to Him, and you'll never, ever regret it. Being broken is never a bad thing. Broken people are the ones closest to the feet of Jesus, and the ones with the most potential for great change. God's got you, baby. He has great things in store not just for you, but He has massive plans for the world through you. You can look at your brokenness today and say "It is well." Because you know what? It is!!



XOXO,

S

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

To the One Who Can't Let IT Go

Yesterday, I wrote about letting go… letting go of whatever it is that keeps you from God. You can read about it here



Today, I want to talk about letting go of something very specific: grudges. A grudge is a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. Do you have a grudge you're holding onto? Yeah, you do. You know you do. So, hey you. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. The one who just can't let it go. No matter how hard you try {or maybe you're not trying at all}, that grudge has taken root in your heart and it's invading every nook and cranny. I hear ya. It's hard. We all have grudges we hold on to. I've been holding on to 7. You heard me. SEVEN! So hey, I'm a Christian blogger and I have just as much garbage in my heart as you do. It wasn't until I just typed it out that I felt the weight of this ridiculousness. Make a list of who you're holding grudges against. It'll probably be more than you think. It's bitter, and it's ugly. But more than anything, it's just pointless. 










Whether it's someone that wronged us, someone that threw us under the bus, someone that broke our heart, someone who was supposed to be a friend, someone who ripped our life to shreds, or… you know what? It doesn't really matter what happened or how... We tuck this bitter that was planted in us deep inside. We nurture it, we water it, and we let it grow. We encourage it to grow. We can't uproot it and throw it out because that thing hurt us too much, it cut too deep, or they're not sorry. So we hang on. We carry that pain everywhere. 



But here's the thing: hanging on to the pain also means hanging on to the bitterness. And that bitterness is rotten. That rot will rot you from the inside out. You can't enjoy the fullness and wonder of today if you're dwelling on the pain from yesterday. You cannot. Listen to the girl tethered to the weight of seven grudges; she knows what she speaks. 



"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and evil speaking be taken away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God has forgiven you in Christ." -Ephesians 4:31-32



Get it? The good book tells us to let go of those feelings. We, as Christians have been specifically tasked with making peace with every single person who has wronged us, hurt us, talked trash about us, broken our heart, or done something terrible to us. We are instructed to look forward and to stop looking back. We can't walk forward with God {and his peace} if we keep walking back to have visits with the turmoil of the past. You can't fully nurture your relationship with Jesus if you're still nurturing your grudge like a little pet. You can't do both, I assure you.



When someone hurts us, we are instructed to forgive them as Christ forgave us. What does forgiveness mean? It means wishing them well despite what harm they brought you. The only way I've found to do this is to pray for them more than you pray for yourself. Sometimes I have withheld well wishes from those who've hurt me simply because I feel they don't deserve it. Sometimes I have refused to pray for those who've hurt me because I'm afraid of what that means. Real talk: I don't like the idea of them flourishing after they've cut me to the core. I've decided that it's just not up to me. Being a scorekeeper for the ones who have wronged me {or others I love} has been far more painful and exhausting than what they've done. 



Don't be like me. Don't keep score. Don't you do it. 



"Hate starts fights, but love covers all sins." -Proverbs 10:12



Let kindness and gentleness flow out of you to cover everyone, especially those who've hurt you. Because wanting to hurt them back is only hurting you, sweet one. Let it go. Let go of that grudge, let go of that hate, let go of the bitterness. The world encourages us to lash back at those who hurt us, to hate them. But the word encourages us to let it go so that the burden of carrying those heavy grudges won't wear you down. God wants us to be free, so set yourself free from the pain. Uproot every bitter seed that's been planted in you and burn it. The enemy wants you to hang on to them, he wants you to be overcome with hatred and self destruction, but you have the power to find freedom. You can free yourself, sweet one, but only by letting go. So pull that bitterness up by the roots and run free. Don't let yourself be held captive not one more minute. You've hurt long enough. It's time to thrive. 




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

To the One Who Can't Let Go

Have you ever been in a situation where God asked you to walk away from something? Something you hated to leave behind? Something in your rear view that you can't bring yourself to drive away from?








If not, I always thought I was envious of people like you, but now I realize that I'm concerned for you. A walk with God means that He's always refining, pruning, working on you. As you become closer to Him, your heart gets tugged on to become more like His, and that will always mean leaving stuff behind that takes you away from Him. The closer you get to Him, the more you'll end up surrendering for Him. You'll stop looking to your own answers and start looking up for His voice, and the longer you look up, the louder that voice becomes in your heart. He'll move you in ways you never thought possible. He'll speak to you more clearly when you're walking in the stillness of His peace. He'll begin to whisper things you would never be capable of hearing due to the noise in your mind, and you may be told to walk away from something great. People may even think you're completely crazy to do it.



Maybe you need to walk away from a relationship. Maybe you need to leave a job you love. Maybe you need to move to a new city. Maybe you need to walk away from a grudge you've been nurturing like a little pet. Maybe you've got to give up on the dream of how you thought your life would be. Whatever it is, letting go is just plain hard. 



I'm there with ya, and I'm scared.



Are you in this place? Are you facing the idea of dropping something you once idolized, turning on your heel, and walking away? Maybe it's a secret sin… Maybe it's something that seems like a noble goal… Maybe it's the thing you just KNEW God wanted for you, and now you just have to drop it. You find yourself asking "Why God, WHY?! Why do I have to let this go?!" 



I just doesn't make any little bit of sense, does it?



"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9



Walking away from something you've had a good grip on is unnerving. It can feel like losing a chunk of yourself. You feel a lump in your throat as you face the idea of giving up pieces of yourself. Sometimes God has to pry your hands off of it, simply because of your fear of the unknown. When God tells you to lay this thing down, the claws come out to tighten your grip. The death grip continues to tighten until either: 1) He pulls you away from it. --OR-- 2) Your heart {and grip} begin to soften as you listen to the whispers of His truth.



You know that little song and dance you go through in your mind leading up to letting go? You say to yourself, "God doesn't REALLY want me to let this go!" Denial. It ain't just a river in Egypt. Sometimes when you boil it down and take a step back, you see that maybe He's got a point. I do this by looking back. I look back at times that my life didn't make sense. I look back at times that He told me "NO", and I always realize He knew exactly what He was doing.



and then I know. I know I must let go. I know that hanging on desperately to what I love most in this world is keeping me from loving the One that is above this world. Because in the end, whatever I dig my claws into is ultimately an idol--and I can't love God with the radical magnitude I desire while overcome with desire for something else.



BUT! When I remove my desire for what I'm hanging on to and place my trust and desires in being led by Jesus, I have always made the chosen the greatest of the two. The same goes for you, sweet one. When you choose Jesus, you choose stepping out of the boat walk on water with Him… although it feels like risk and fear. It feels like a storm that is certain to pull you under. If you never step out of the boat and you hang on to your seat, how will you ever know what other options are out there for you? You won't. You'll stay paralyzed in fear. You'll miss out on the thrill of walking with Him above the waves. {Read Matthew 14:22-29 here}



If He is telling you to lay something down, it's only because He knows what lies out there, and that thing is keeping you from it. What lies out there are good things, miracles, blessings, and making the impossible possible. He can see better things over the horizon, and you don't trust that. That's what this all boils down to. He sees what that thing you've got the death grip on is keeping you from, but you can't. You see what's here and now. But God has so much more in store for you, dearest one. He has a vision for your life that's better than what you could have hoped for. It's vision that works things together for His good.



…and sweet one, His good is ALWAYS going to be better than your good.



What are you hanging on to? What is God telling you to just let go of? Is it a toxic person who is like quicksand, just sucking you under? Is it a job you love? Is it a relationship that pulls you away from God? Is it a plan for your future that you had meticulously pieced together in your mind? Is it just control itself? Do you just not want to relinquish control to God because you want to take the wheel yourself?



Listen close, dear one: it is the sincerest prayer of my heart today that you know in the deepest parts of yourself that He is leading you to drop that thing for very specific reasons. Even though you can't see what lies ahead, I pray that you trust that He is leading you to work for His glory. I pray that you come to depend on HIM and not on yourself. Because in letting go, you're letting Him work everyday miracles in your world--but only if you let Him. So, won't you? Let go, stand back, and watch the glory unfold.