Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do your actions reflect your beliefs?

As a Christian, are we called to only love one another when they treat us like they should? If you’re like me, your answer is, “well, of course not.”

But... do your actions reflect your beliefs?

I am ashamed to say that mine certainly don’t always line up, as much as I want to love everyone the way I know the Lord has called me to, I often struggle with it.

Recently, the Lord has allowed me to go through several trials that have been a true test of not necessarily my faith, because I know He’s been right here beside me every step of the way, but more of my character. The Lord’s desire for me to love others the way He loves me has been so impressed on my heart lately.

Sometimes people, even those in your own family, out of jealousy or their own insecurity, can treat you so unfairly. It may not be to your face, but rather in a spiteful, malicious way that hurts far deeper than just a plain old insult ever could. They might talk about you behind your back after being sweet as pie to your face and they might have all the wrong motives when they “help” you. It always hurts worse when those who are supposed to love you hurt you.

Sometimes, people who truly have your best interest at heart don’t understand the value of your dreams and tear you down rather than build you up. It is so disheartening to have your dreams disregarded as trivial or unimportant. But sometimes people haven’t grown up the same way you have, and they don’t know how to dream big, or maybe they never had the opportunities you have so they resent you. There are always going to be those who don’t see the value in your dreams, but it’s how you respond that determines your true success.

Sometimes, people have hurt you so badly that it’s hard to trust them. It’s so easy to let unforgiveness turn you into a person you are not. When your thoughts are consumed with how a person has hurt you, it stops you from growing and imprisons you to a cold, hard heart rather than a heart like Christ’s. Don’t respond to this treatment by acting the same way the person that hurt you did. That makes you just as bad as them! Remember, hurting people hurt people.

I’ve been in all three of these situations in the last few months, and I wish I could say I was a calm, collected woman of grace throughout it all. There have been lots of times that I haven’t understood why I was going through such a trial, especially since they’ve all been with people I genuinely love and want to be close to. However, the Lord doesn’t only call us to love the lovable. He calls us to love the unlovable. He calls us to love the back-stabbers, the gossips, the dream-crushers and the spiteful ones. We are called to love those who hurt us, knowing we are no better them if we retaliate with the same hurtful attitudes.

Jealousy, insecurity and holding grudges are poisons that prevent us from living together in unity and loving one another the way Jesus wants us to.

Be the bigger person, strive every day to love those that hurt you, know that God won’t give you anything you can’t handle, and most importantly, remember that He is by your side every step of the way.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Rock that is Higher than I

In the last several months, I've been faced with more life-changing moments than ever before in my short 21 years of life. When I say "life-changing," I mean holy-cow-I'm-a-"real"-grown-up kind of moments. It's been exciting, scary, slightly intimidating and all at the same time so full of hope and the Lord's goodness that I have been on even more of an emotional roller coaster than usual. Everyone that knows me know that I wear my emotions on my sleeve and you pretty much always know exactly how I'm feeling (which is both a good thing and a bad thing) and with a proposal, excitement of graduating this coming May, travel plans, job offers and wedding planning, I've been one big tangled mess of every emotion in the book.

The Lord has made His presence so evident throughout this time in my life. He has been right beside me, sending me each and every tangible sign I've begged Him for. Whether it be a song on the radio that confirms exactly what I've been praying about, a Sunday sermon that answers the question I've been asking Him, or simply someone mentioning something to me that they had no way of knowing I'd been wrestling with in my heart and all I needed was some encouragement or to be pointed in the right direction, Jesus has been so faithful.

As I go back to school for my final semester at Appalachian - which is crazy - because I swear just yesterday I was a freshman who didn't know anybody and had to pull out a map the entire first week to find my classes, I know that I will be facing even more scary questions, things I don't think I'm ready for and days when I'm so overwhelmed all I want to do is cry. But, my deepest desire, going forward in 2014, is to savor each and every moment and truly feel every emotion that fills my heart. I don't' want to rush, I don't want to get to the point where I don't care and just start throwing everything together. I want each and every detail to be planned with love and make each and every person feel loved, valued and appreciated.

The Lord promises us not to every give us more than we can handle. He promises His faithfulness, His presence, His strength and His love.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's a New Year!

For those of you that know me on a personal level, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of setting goals. I always have a notebook and pen in hand, jotting down ideas, doodling or making lists. I guess I have that much of my Momma in me! 2014 is the year I've been waiting for my entire life. It is the year I will graduate from Appalachian State University, the year I will truly plunge head-first into the "real world" and start my career and it's the year I will marry my very best friend!

Here's just a few of the goals I'd like ya'll to help keep me accountable of this year:
- First and foremost, grow in my relationship with the Lord. My deepest desire is to know Him better everyday and have a heart like His.
- Go back to Haiti this summer
- Exercise and develop a healthier lifestyle
- Make a scrapbook of my pictures from Italy
- Completely pay off what humongous little debt I've accumulated (study abroad, hospital bills)
- Do more for people without any intention of every getting a "thank you" or pat on the back
- Save money
- Drink more water
- Do more thoughtful things for my husband to be
- Practice restraint, learn to bite my tongue and learn how to handle hardship with more grace
- Do more with my Momma
- Be more intentional in my relationships, not just going through the motions, but really learn to love people in the way that they need to be loved

I could probably list a thousand, but those are just a few of the big ones. The Lord is so faithful and I know that 2014 is going to be one of the best years ever!