The human race is sin-scarred and broken. I only realize it more and more as I get older, and it’s heartbreaking. When the latest news lights up the screen and the most recent tragedy is announced, I want to stand on the tallest building and scream, “THE ANSWER IS JESUS. TURN TO JESUS. PLEASE.” This world is hurting, this world is searching, and we have the answer. We have the Hope of the world. We have the Gospel. Why are we silent?
There has been an itch in my soul, a stirring and a drive that I have not felt in some time. I. Must. Speak. For years I have silenced my passion and my feelings in fear of offending someone, making someone hate me, or looking foolish. And I don’t know, maybe I’ve been out of my comfort zone enough now to know that it does not matter as much as I have always thought. Maybe God pulled me out of everything that was comfortable and easy to draw me in to Himself and re-ignite that passion in my soul, because He knows that we don’t often grow in the warm and comfortable places.
There is a battle in my heart, two voices that constantly war for my attention and devotion. There is the voice of fear that tells me that I am not smart enough, equipped enough, or skilled enough to be bold. That I am going to make a fool out of myself like I have so many times before. And there is the voice of boldness (or is it the Holy Spirit?) telling me to go. There is a voice that tells me to speak out. Fight for the truth. Get involved in that ministry. Study current issues, take a stand, get involved in discussions, don’t hesitate to bring up my faith. Stand up. Forget about myself and my comfort. Stop worrying about their opinion of me. This is not about me. This is about Him. This is about eternity. This is about good, evil, and the future of millions of souls. And I know the answer. Why. Am. I. Silent.
Why am I silent about the one thing that the world needs to know the most? Why am I silent when I hear His name dragged through the mud? Why am I silent when I see they are hurting and I know the Healer? Why am I silent when I hear the truth being distorted and ridiculed? Why do I keep it in? Because I am afraid of what they think? Because I am afraid that they will think I’m ridiculous? Because I decide in that moment that my pride and image are more important than the glory of God and the eternal destiny of their souls?
God forgive me.
Forgive us all.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines in comfort and mediocrity. This is about life or death. And our time is running out. Let’s pray for eyes to see the world through the eyes of the Savior who gave up his kingdom of perfection and his very own life to save a broken and rebellious world. He died for me, He saved me. I must speak of Him.
Look around you, look at your neighbor, your friends, your cousin, everyone you see. These are your people. They need to know your God.
Love them. Speak up. Stand up. Show up.
Let’s break the silence.
I went for a walk this morning on the paths by my house. I love going for walks this time of year, admiring the foliage and breathing in the crisp morning air. I went to my favorite spot by a little bridge over the creek, where I always seem to end up on these walks, and I realized something. It has been a year since we moved here, since I packed up with my family and moved to a place that I knew nothing of and nobody in. I remember going down to that exact spot by the creek shortly after we moved in, sitting on a rock, and crying to God to please just let me feel at home here, and to not make me move again. I was angry about leaving my old home, I was hurting because of a broken friendship, and I was confused. I felt more alone and lost than I had in a long time. But I remember as I sat there with my journal, I gave it all to God. I told Him that even though I couldn’t feel the good in this, I knew in my head that He is good. I asked that He would help me not only know it, but believe it, and surrender myself completely to Him.
The next few weeks were a battle. I struggled with anger and bitterness, I struggled with a lot of fear, and surrender was a constant battle, something I had to do over and over again every day. I would go for a run every afternoon after work to pray and get rid of stress. I would take my journal down to that faithful little creek and write my thoughts out. I hesitantly started attending the Sunday School class and Bible study at our new church. And the more I took those little steps and prayed through the fear and frustration, my stubborn heart was softened to God’s leading. I met some amazing people, I began to be challenged in my faith once again, and I started to realize that we often grow the most when we are uprooted from our comfort zones.
And one year later, I look back and realize that God is so faithful. God is so good. And I don’t always see that, but I am learning to recognize it daily. I am learning to lean on His steady hand and fall into His arms when I cannot walk on my own. When everything around me is whirling and dark and terrifying, my God is constant. His love is for always, and His grace is sufficient. Things have not been easy, but God has been faithful.
He has brought some incredible people into my life this year. I have been challenged, I have been encouraged, and I have grown through their love and friendship. He has brought me through situations that were gut-wrenching and seemingly impossible, and He has taught me (and is still teaching me!) that my worth and my satisfaction can be found in Him alone. He has given me contentment with the season of life that I am in, and He has given me excitement about the future. He is shining the light on the legalism that I struggled with and didn’t work through for so long, and He is breaking down the lies that I have believed about Him in the process. He is showing me what it means to truly follow Him, listen to His voice, and claim Him as my own. He is teaching me that I am in desperate need of Him. He is teaching me to be burdened for the world that is full of lost and broken people in need of Him. He is giving me a love for others, a passion to go and get involved in ministries to serve Him, and a confidence in Him that I never knew before.
I’m still learning how to live abundantly in the here and now. I’m still learning to be satisfied in Him. I’m still learning what it means to have a true, deep relationship with Jesus, not just head knowledge based on what I’ve heard. He is guiding me on a path that leads me to Him, and I can look back on this year and be truly thankful. I can be full of joy as I remember His faithfulness. And I can look forward with excitement because I know that His promises are true, and His plans for me are perfect, no matter what I feel.
And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Yes, you. I hear you…in fact, I am you. I have heard the lies more often than I ever thought I would, and so many times, I have fallen into the trap. It’s a grueling cycle, really. There is a voice that drives us, the voice that fills our head with all the reasons why we need to change.
“Her hair is always so put together, and mine looks so frizzy.”
“Look at her outfits, I should really figure out my style, my clothes are awful.”
“Wow they have such a great personality, why am I so awkward?”
“I really need to take better pictures like everyone else.”
I understand because I have told myself every single one of these lies and more. And where do they lead? We put on makeup, re-do our wardrobe, and try to change ourselves over and over in an attempt to look like, talk like, and BE someone else. We tell ourselves that we will finally be happy if we could just change a few things. But those few things turn into more and we become burned out, exhausted, and spiraling down into the painful, never-ending trap of comparison.
I’m not here to tell you that you just need to learn to love yourself. I’m not here to say that you are perfect just the way you are. Because the truth is, loving yourself will not bring you joy or satisfaction, and nobody is perfect, not even the people who seem to have your dream life. But I am here to tell you that there is a perfect Creator who made you on purpose, who designed you uniquely, and who loves you endlessly. And that in itself should be enough. Because He is enough.
Here is the hard truth: You will never be “good enough.” You will always find someone prettier, smarter, or more talented. And that’s ok. Because your purpose on this earth is not to be just like her. You are not here to have a great friend group, a perfect Instagram feed, or a dream wardrobe. God has placed you here because He wants to use you to bring Him glory and shine a light in the lives around you. He has placed you here for a specific reason, given you specific and unique gifts and abilities, and He has a purpose laid out for you that you cannot begin to imagine! When we compare ourselves to those around us, it is a direct insult to our Designer and Creator. When we question the way we have been made, we are questioning the wisdom and knowledge of God. When we question why we are in the place that He has put us, and deny the purpose He has given us, we are assuming that we know better than the God of the universe. Hear this now: God is perfect, and He does not make a mistake. He created you specifically and intentionally. You are created on purpose, and for HIS purpose. What more could you ask for?
Dear friend, I don’t know about you, but I am tired of living in comparison. I am tired of questioning the wisdom and love of my perfect Father. I am tired of mentally tearing myself down because of the things I am not and never will be. I am ready to throw out the lies and become rooted in truth. And I’m sure you are too. Let’s begin today with a heart of gratefulness for the lives we have been given. Let’s dig into His word, learn who He is and meditate on what He has done for us.
Pray for a heart that sees life with a heavenly perspective. Stop comparing, and start complimenting. Stop searching for flaws, and start intentionally thanking Him for His perfect plan and design for your life. Search for the color, keep a record of His love and faithfulness in your life. Grab a journal, write it down! It’s there, if you will only search for it. He has given her a beautiful life, but he has also given you one. And He knows what He is doing. Can you rest in that?
You are breathing, you are living, you are loved, and you are His. Nothing can change that timeless, beautiful truth.
Today, I want to have a real and open talk about obedience to God’s calling. Because when I’m being completely honest, I realize that I have been hesitant and fearful to do so, especially with this blog. I mentioned in my last post that I have felt unqualified to be writing devotionals and encouragement, and God has been showing me lately how much I allowed that to control me. I hesitated to write posts, or try to encourage people, because I felt like I had no experience, or I wasn’t spiritually mature enough. I have felt like I have been stuck the past few months, like I’m unable to grow in my faith, and because of that, I shrank away from blogging in fear that I would be a hypocrite. In my mind, it wasn’t right to be posting devotional content when I was struggling so much myself. When I was being honest with myself, I knew that this was what God wanted me to do, but I refused to do it for fear of what others would think of me if they knew I was struggling.
But here’s the thing that God showed me: I am not ever going to be “good enough” or “experienced enough” to do this, especially if I am trying to operate on my own strength. I have realized that I had been waiting for perfection, and that is never going to come. I don’t have to feel ready. I don’t have to have it all together. I need to walk in obedience, in the purpose and calling that God has given me, knowing that it is through His power alone that I can do anything at all. He will provide exactly what I need, when I need it, and He will be the one speaking through my messy words. I don’t want these to be my ideas. I don’t want this blog to be about me. This needs to be about Him, and He has given me all I need to walk in His calling.
Here’s what I want to encourage you with: God never calls us to do something, then abandons us to figure it out. He calls us, He empowers us, He gifts us uniquely, and He guides and directs us the entire way. And the thing is? You aren’t going to feel ready. If you wait on the feelings, they won’t come. Speak the truth to yourself, remember that He goes behind and before you, He will never leave you or forsake you, HE is your refuge and your strength, His power works in you, and in Him you are never, ever alone. Don’t let fear keep you from walking in obedience. Take that first step, that first plunge, knowing that He is there to catch you and carry you through whatever it is He is nudging you towards. Don’t let Satan convince you that you have to be good enough or reach a certain level of knowledge and spiritual expertise. This Christian walk is a journey..all that we are called to do is live in obedience to Him right now, right here. God has called you, gifted you, and strengthened you to do His will, and if you are His, no weapon formed against you will prosper. God is faithful.
And one day, you are going to look back and realize that none of it was you. None of it was because you gathered up the courage, because you suddenly became ready, or because you learned to love yourself and know your strength. We are weak, HE is strong. Apart from God, we can do NOTHING. Pray for his guidance, and always be seeking to grow, but don’t wait for perfection, or you will never start.
The time to walk in your purpose and your calling is NOW. What are you waiting for?