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9.22.2018

Searching for Direction



Have you ever felt like your future was so unclear? Like every aspect of your life was uncertain? Lately I have felt like God has me in a season of fogginess. I don't know what the future holds or where God desires me to be. I don't know what God wants me to do in the here and now and I'm not sure where He plans to lead me.

Prayer is an important piece when dealing with uncertainty. Lately I have found myself lagging in my prayer life. Life gets crazy and this world we live in moves so fast. I get caught up in the busy day-to-day schedule that I forget to go to God in prayer. I try to take things into my own hands and make decisions based on my own knowledge, without going to God first. Things seem to move along faster when I can take control and not spend time praying about it, but I quickly find that I get myself into messes that could have been more successful if I sought God first.

Living can become quite tough when we're unsure of where we're going. I've struggled with uncertainty, waiting for God to provide me with direction when the road seemed to come to an end. Giving God the control when I didn't know what He was desiring me to do in the present has been quite humbling. Finding that I'm not meant to decide my future on my own has been challenging, yet relieving. I've grown worried that I'm not doing what I should be where God has me. I've become anxious with how to plan for the future when I don't know the next step and what lies next. Although even when I was in the midst of worry and anxiousness, I felt peace knowing that I didn't need to have it all together and in control for God to be working.

Maybe your life right now feels uncertain. Maybe each area of your life feels like you don't know what God desires from you to be actively doing. Maybe you feel like you've done all you know to do and you're at a dead end. Sometimes God wants us in a place of uncertainty with no way out so we look up and seek after Him instead of establishing our own path.

If you're in a place of uncertainty and feeling like you need direction, go to God in prayer. Prayer can be something that often seems cumbersome, but is a mighty tool that God has used since He walked the earth to display His power. Prayer might seem like it is a slower process of finding direction, but if things came easily we wouldn't appreciate them as much. No good thing is appreciated as much if it comes along easily.

Take time and seek God in prayer. Ask Him to provide direction in the areas you feel uncertain in. List out the areas you are worried or anxious about. Be precise and detailed. God loves to listen to your heart, He doesn't get bored. Bring them to God and hand over the control you desire and let go of the burden it's bearing on you. Ask God to lead you in the direction He has planned for your life and that He would reveal to you what you need to do right now. Let Him guide you in the way He has established for your life. When things feel like they are out of your hands, that's the perfect place for them to be because they are in His!

9.05.2018

When Life Doesn't go as Expected

Expectations of who I am and what I'm supposed to become are broadcasted each day into my mind. Lies infiltrate into the deepest areas of my heart and resound so loudly that I tap into the deception. It doesn't take much for me to be deceived into believing they are truth.

I've felt the pressure to be perfect. I've tried to attain it with all my heart. Day after day it feels like a losing battle when I constantly fall on my face and feel like an utter failure. No matter how hard I try I won't be able to please everyone. If I were trying to please everyone, I wouldn't be pleasing God. I become so focused on pleasing others and are pulled into who they expect me to be that I lose focus on just being me, and even greater, pleasing God.

Society places pressures on us daily, in fact, momentarily. I have found the perceptions and expectations to be unbearable at times. I've grown discouraged with how far my life feels from the perfection society desires. I should be more successful at my job. I should be married. I should have children and a beautiful home. I should be smarter. I should have more friends. I shouldn't be honest. I shouldn't expose my flaws. I should have my life under control. I should have a 5 year plan. I should be achieving all my goals.

I have many desires for who I am and who I want to become, but I often find myself anxiously discouraged with where my life is currently stuck. I've prayed and tried to take steps in directions I've desired, but it seems like God keeps closing doors. It's difficult to be patient with God's timing when society has a strict timeline on when things should be occurring. I find it difficult to get my life together when I have no idea what direction God wants me to take or where He's leading me.

I look to the timing society has brainwashed me into thinking, and I have to remind myself that my life isn't decided by society. I get so caught up in what is "normal" or "popular" and lose sight of what God views as perfect for me. God's plan is unique just for my life. Not for my family or best friend, but just for me. Why am I looking to society to know what is best, when I have a God that knows my heart, desires, intimate needs and necessities better than I ever will?

When I look to society and the perceptions that weigh down my heart, I've grown to realize that I don't need to be placed into the tiny box of what is expected. I have a God who is capable of doing the impossible and working outside the box of the expected. He's using even the dormant stages of my life for something fruitful and prosperous. I shouldn't desire to live a life in expectation of every plan being certain and secure, when I'm living a life of faith in God. Faith requires trust. It requires us to experience difficult opportunities to truly prove if that trust is real or if it will be broken by the harsh winds of difficulty.

Do you feel caught up in the expectations of society, leaving you feeling anxious and discouraged when they don't fall in line with what is expected? Don't lose heart. We weren't made to fit into the plans that society has established. We were called to live a life that has a deeper value than what others are living for. We have a God that is capable of working through the darkest valleys and most helpless of circumstances and allowing something miraculous to arise.

The next time you feel dominated by what others think or perceptions that this world has deceived you into thinking, ask yourself if it is based on truth? Does God think that way about you? Is He placing those expectations on you? Is He perceiving you that way? I believe you'll find that the answer is not Him, but rather us and Satan putting those burdens on ourselves.

I've fallen into the trap of yearning to please others and not look like a fool for letting them down. I've tried to seek perfection, hoping that others wouldn't see my shortcomings. I've allowed others to take advantage of me because I was afraid to make a stand. I've acted like everything was okay because I was afraid of admitting my need for help. In the end, I don't have to be accepted by this world. I'm not seeking approval from anyone here on this earth. I only need to live my life to glorify God. Nobody else. If others reject me or aren't accepting of me, I don't have to feel consumed by their disapproval, because I know that I have a steadfast love from God that will always welcome me in. He understands the deep ache rejection can bring, because He experienced it firsthand. If we're rejected or unaccepted in this world because of Christ, we are considered blessed. We have great reward in heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. // Matthew 5:11

Choose to focus on striving to live for God and not the world. It is a difficult task to strive for in the dominating society we live in that seems to attack us everyday. Even more than we may realize. Seek God in prayer and ask Him help keep you focused. Strive to live for Him and let the perceptions that tangle your thoughts be cut loose from the truths that God has instilled upon your heart. Don't ever lose sight of doing what is right. No matter how different the world is from what it once was, what is right and wrong still remains. Society doesn't change truth. God established it and what He promised will never change across time.

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. // 2 Thessalonians 3:13

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened." // 1 Peter 3:14

8.20.2018

When Life Feels Small



Another week goes past. The same struggles. The same issues. Some things just never seem to change.

As an aspiring designer seeking to grow my business and attain personal goals, I find myself often feeling unaccomplished. There are days that pass that I feel unsuccessful. It is a hard balance to achieve all that I want to become while still living my life to the fullest intent God has for me. It feels like a constant battle to reach a larger audience, while still remaining faithful to God and not getting caught up in the publicity side of things.

While I seek to reach others and use the talents God has bestowed upon me, I have to continually remind myself that it's not about the likes, comments, followers or popularity. It's all about having the right heart while doing what God calls me to do. Sometimes it's hard to remain patient in times of inactivity. We may be putting in the effort, but we don't see any results.

I've been comparing my life to successful friends and entrepreneurs and feeling discouraged at times. Where I would like my life to be in comparison to where I currently am is so distinctively different. Things that I wished would have occurred by now have become far-fetched dreams. Things that I wonder if they will ever be fulfilled.

Maybe you've been seeking God for guidance or answers, but it seems as though you have not gotten the answers or direction you've been pleading God for. Currently I'm enduring through a season of uncertainty of what God is expecting of me. I've been seeking Him for direction, but I feel like I'm headed nowhere.

I've often wondered how am I supposed to know what to do with my life now, if I don't have any direction? How can I plan out my life if I don't know what God has in store for me?

Maybe you feel discouraged with your life. Maybe you feel like every aspect of your life feels uncertain or unknown. Although it's not an enjoyable place to be, I think it is where God desires us to be the most. When we aren't relying on our strength to establish our plans or determine our steps, we need to rely on the only One who can work through our uncertainty and lead us in the path He has established for us.

Can I just be frank in saying that I've often felt as though God's plans lead me down a path of difficult terrain that leave me feeling broken and tired. I look around and see others on a different route full of happiness and success, while I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. At times it has felt as though God was trying to strip away my happiness. It was like He didn't want to see me happy. I've grown weary in the wait and wondering if the unexciting life I seem to be leading will ever turn out like I've dreamed. Although I've felt these emotions before, I know they are not based on truth. God never delights in seeing us suffer. He may allow suffering, but He is doing it for the sole purpose to strengthen us, not to ever harm us.

I've come to the conclusion that God has never called us to plan out every detail of our lives and feel responsible to determine our steps. I've burdened myself with the duty to plan out my future so that I could find success in my career, relationship status or personal walk with God. Although my aspirations may be filled with good intentions, it has quickly taught me that my plans are not God's plans. I may think I know what I need, but God knew what I would need before time began and intricately knows my heart better than I do. He knows the effects of the things I desire and how I can only see a tiny piece, when He sees the end result.

God just asks us to have the faith of a mustard seed. Being that it is one of the tiniest seeds created puts into perspective what God intends our faith to look like. He doesn't expect us to have an extensive amount of faith, but finds joy in even our tiny forms of faith. In fact, once planted, mustard seeds can grow to become the largest of all garden plants. Even the tiniest seeds of faith can blossom into the largest victories.

If we have the willingness to "plant" our seed of faith, God will sustain it and allow it to grow. Even when it feels like nothing is occurring and we're awaiting our opportunity to grow, we can rest assured that God is strengthening us through the unknown. In times of uncertainty it is best to seek after God and closely walk with Him. Spend extra time in His Word. Surrender your plans to Him. Ask Him to direct your paths. When we submit to Him, He will do what He has promised, to direct and lead us in the way we should go. When we know that God is leading us, we have no need to be anxious or afraid. We can rest assured that in the uncertainty and foggy future, that feels like it is taking forever to get us to any sign of hope, is God leading us directly in the way that He has deemed us to go. And when planted, the tiniest of seeds can produce an abundance of fruit that only could be grown with both sun and rain.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. // Matthew 17:20

8.01.2018

In Prayer [Free Download]


I’ve found the discouragement of my situations debilitating at times. It feels as though I’m losing the fight and my life is crumbling into pieces. I’ve grown discouraged in feeling God near and working in my circumstances.

How often I forget that God never intended us to carry the weight alone. We have a powerful tool to help equip us against the enemy and struggles of this world. I have to admit the excessive amount of time I’ve spent discussing my problems with others and my thoughts running rampant, instead of handing them over to God through prayer. How I overlook the power of prayer and handing my needs over to God so He can work through them effectively.

 I decided to put together eight prayers that have been on my heart recently. Prayers I have prayed in intimate moments in my own personal walk with God. I hope that you could find them as encouragement in your prayer life as well!

Download the Free PDF

7.24.2018

When My Thoughts Grow Restless [Poem]

My mind continually pulls me into a trap of deceptive thoughts
Leaving my stomach anxious and tied up in knots
I grow fearful of the future and uncertain of what lies ahead
Sometimes I become so lonely on the path that I tread
Where are You Lord? What are You doing?
Sometimes the plan You have for me can feel so confusing
Questions arise that keep my mind up wandering all night
Thoughts that leave me doubting and wanting to give up the fight
Buried hurts that run so deep, they feel like more than I can take
Why won't time seem to cure this penetrating ache?
Each new struggle is another blow on a wounded heart
Allowing the memories to come rushing back in and tear me apart

Wondering what good is coming from this enduring struggle
Seems like my hope and strength are beginning to crumble
My life feels so uncertain and unclear
Lord, please give me wisdom to not give up and to preservere
Remind me to focus only on Your perception of me,
Because You look so much deeper than what the world can see
When I feel like this world rejects me and I don't belong
Be my strength, O Lord, help me remain strong
Don't let me lose heart when thoughts attack and prevail
Help me remember that You never forsake and Your love never fails

Give me direction and fill me with Your peace
Help me give over the worries on my heart and let my suffering cease
Abolish all thoughts that haunt me of these painful memories
Don't let me fall into Satan's deceptive treachery
Restore my focus to be set on You
Help me overcome, please see me through
Take my life and use it for something of worth
Help me live for eternity, do what's right, and not focus on things of this earth
Give me the strength to let go and hand over my burdens to You,
Because I know that You're the only One that will see me through

Thank You for always remaining by my side
And desiring to love me for who I am on the inside
You value my worth and understand my every heartbreak
And when the world rejects me, I know You will never fail or forsake
You delve deep inside and see my heart
You aren't afraid to remain close even when I'm feeling broken and torn apart
Take my life and use it to fulfill Your plan
Because I know You're using the uncertainty and painful things in far better ways than I can ever comprehend!

7.20.2018

The Fear of Saying No


Have you ever felt like your day-to-day responses only consisted of "yes" answers to other's requests? Have you found yourself unable to say "no" when you're feeling overwhelmed and worn out? What reasons do you find are the source of your inability to refrain from taking on too much?

I am one of those people who has a very bad habit of being unable to say "no" to the incessant requests that others throw my way. I often find myself overworked in doing favors for others because I have the fear of letting them down. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy when others reach out to me, since I find great encouragement in being able to help. Although, I admit my weakness when it comes to saying "no." I don't want to put others in a bad situation and disappoint them. In all honesty, I want to be perceived as the person others can count on. I want to be reliable. I admire to being their "go to" person in times of need.

Let me just say that there is a fine line between being reliable and being overworked. I can't count the times that I've put myself into stressful circumstances only to please others. I try to avoid conflict at all costs, so usually the best solution is to just push through it, even if I'm privately grinding my teeth through the process.

Seeking to fulfill other's expectations, we place the pressure on ourselves to fulfill their every desire in fear of looking incapable or imperfect. We don't want to appear flawed, so we do whatever we can to put on the mask of being superhuman and working ourselves to the bone to accomplish what needs to get done.

It is here where it is difficult to distinguish how far is too far in serving others. When do you decide whether it's time to say "no" when you feel so burdened to say "yes?" When I turn down someone's offer, I feel guilt flood over me, thinking that I let them down or appear ungodly for not being willing to help them out. While God admires a servant’s heart, He also desires that we prioritize our lives effectively.

I tend to prioritize how others view me over God's perception of me. Often times I find happiness and contentment in knowing I am helping someone else. While this isn’t wrong, I have found that it so easily transforms into selfish desires in trying to impress others. Even though I may be serving, my heart sometimes gets so caught up in the desire to satisfy the needs of others with selfish intent as my motivation. My happiness has fed off the expectations of others, instead of setting boundaries and focusing on the true purpose of God's intention of helping others. I don’t need to take on more than I can handle to be fully loved and accepted by God.

I can’t count the times I’ve taken on too many things in the fear of letting others down and appearing incapable. I’ve felt like I’ve had to prove my worth by taking on too much. In result, I became worn out, weary and run down, resulting in my time with God being impaired, and probably looking like a total maniac in the process. It was during these times that I felt I didn’t have enough time for God. If I only knew that I needed God the most during those times to get my perspective right. I can't count the times that I prioritized helping others, thinking I was doing the right thing, when in reality, my relationship with God was being so greatly neglected in the process.

We may feel the need to consistently say “yes” when our schedule is screaming at us to say "no." God doesn’t expect us to wear ourselves thin in serving others. Especially when we’ve forgotten why we're serving and we’re only in it to gain praise, fulfillment or personal gain. God desires us to have a servant's heart, but it all stems down to why we're saying "yes." Is it to receive praise, recognition, profit or to people please? Are we only saying "yes" to find fulfillment and look good in front of others? Maybe you even have the right heart intent in saying "yes" but you're finding yourself overwhelmed and stressed out with too many commitments.

Is your relationship with God being impacted due to your many commitments, pulling you away from the one thing that will satisfy your heart? Helping and serving others is something encouraged by God, but He never intended us to over-commit to things that will hinder our relationship with Him. The things we're doing don't influence God's love for us, but rather, He looks deeper into our heart's intent. He values when we take the time to spend with Him and desires that our heart be sincere in our relationship with Him before all else. We don't need to "do" anything to be loved and accepted by God. We don't have to prove ourselves to others to be valued by God. When our heart is right, we will have the desire to genuinely serve and help. When we are faced with opportunities flooding in we can seek God in prayer to ask for direction as to which areas He desires us to say "yes" to and which areas we should say "no" to. 

Take a few moments in prayer and ask God if there are any areas that are pulling your attention away from Him or if He would desire you to say "yes" to. Seek Him for direction and wisdom in prioritizing your commitments and opportunities to be used to strengthen your relationship with Him. God admires a servant's heart who is willing to love and help others, but He never intended you to meet up to everyone's expectations and become overwhelmed by too many commitments.

The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected. // Proverbs 29:25

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. // Galatians 1:10