4.13.2017

When Life Feels Small

Sometimes the life I lead feels quite small. It feels invisible at times. Sometimes just when I feel like my life is headed somewhere, all of a sudden tragedy happens and I'm left with empty hands. Sometimes it feels like God just strips everything from my life and it feels like I'm left with nothing.

Confidence is something I struggle with when I feel like I have nothing to offer. Nothing to bring to the table. I have found that when everything is stripped from my life. Desires. Relationships. Talents. Possessions. Fame. Everything that boosts my esteem. When they are all removed from my life I seek God more. I realize I need Him. I crave Him. And even though I desire those other things so deeply in my life, I grow to realize that they will never fully fill the void I have in my heart. Although they can sometimes take up a large place in my heart, they lack any substantial value in comparison to God's place.

When we desire more for our lives. More fame. More money. More friendships. More success. Whatever we're seeking. If we desire to seek more, hoping to find happiness and contentment with what this life can offer us, we're looking in the wrong places. The things I once desired and I presently have in my life now don't seem to fill the void I once thought would satisfy my heart. Somehow I always want more. I will never be happy if I'm looking to the things that this world can offer. Only Christ can satisfy the emptiness I feel inside. Only He can quench my thirst for more.


Maybe your life feels small. Maybe you feel like the circumstances you're facing seem insignificant from the outside, but they're effecting you ever so deeply. Maybe you feel like your talents and abilities are too insufficient to be used by God. Maybe you feel like your life has no impact. No purpose. Maybe you feel like you have nothing left to give. You're empty and broken.

Let me tell you that God is using the "small" things and doing something amazing with them. You may feel unqualified or unworthy, but God uses those who are humble and willing to be used in great ways. Others may view the struggles you are facing as "small" or insignificant, but God sees the pain you're feeling and He understands. Nothing is too small to be seen by God. Nothing is too insignificant to be used by God.

It's so easy to get caught up and let the interests and desires we want from this life to overtake our thoughts. We will always desire more unless we look to the source of where everything comes from. When we focus on God, the giver of all things, and not what we can get out of this life, we will find our heart being filled and content through even the hardest of situations. Not because the trials go away or they cease to exist, but because our focus is on Christ, He doesn't change or fail us. His love is constant. His promises never will be broken. We can look to Him and know that He is working.

It's easy to look at our lives and feel like what we once desired and obtained has been taken from us. We may feel like everything we had was torn out from under us. We question God and wonder what He's doing with our life. Maybe you feel like you have nothing left to be in control of. Being in that place often makes us feel vulnerable and broken, but that's exactly where God desires us. We may feel broken, but God is strengthening us through it. We can seek Him at a deeper level because we have nothing left to lean on. We learn that we don't have control, and that's okay because God's got it.

God's using your seemingly small life and using it in great ways. No life is small to God. We all have purpose, worth and importance to Him. When it feels like everything is taken from you and you have nothing left you can rest assured that God is providing exactly what you need. It may feel like you have nothing, but God has supplied all your needs. Not some. All of them. Every season of our life has a purpose. Every season has something we can learn. When you feel discouraged with your circumstances, look to God and place your trust in Him. Seek His truth. He is providing for you. He is protecting you. He will never stop loving you. He's got a plan. He sees the pain. He wants the best for you. It's impossible for Him to ever fail you!


"When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone"

// Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells 


Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

I Corinthians 1:28  
God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

3.30.2017

An Unknown Future

Looking back over the years of my life I see a life far from perfection, certainty or predictability. Growing up I looked to my future with dreams of hope for what would lie ahead. Career plans. Having life-long friends. Getting married. The list could go on...

Sometimes I grow discouraged with where my life has led me and I struggle to find joy with where God has me now. I've been finding that the failures and insecurities of my past still seem like they somehow haunt me even in my life now. Sometimes it's hard to look to the future with hope when our dreams feel like they have been shattered and forgotten and we can't get our minds off the past.

When our hopes, dreams and desires seem to be overlooked, we can remember Who is in control. We can rest assured that He has heard our prayers. When prayers seem to go unanswered, it's not God failing to answer us, but rather a "I'm protecting you" or "not yet."  I have to constantly remind myself that when things don't go as I had planned, God isn't withholding them from me out of spite. God directs us in the way we should go according to His will. Not ours. He is directing us and protecting us from trekking to places that could harm us along the way. Even when our life feels like it is up to nothing, we can rest assured that God is up to more that we could ever imagine!



Maybe you've been encountering a season of your life that you're not sure what God is doing. Maybe you've been seeking, craving and hoping for God to step in and take control, but He feels farther than ever before. You're wondering if He hears you. Let me tell you that God has never left your side. He's right there with you, loving you more than ever and encouraging you along the way. He may seem silent, but as the saying goes "The teacher is always quiet during the test." I like to think that when God seems silent, He's testing how strong our faith is. Silence is often one of the hardest things to persevere through when we are anxiously waiting for an answer.

Maybe you feel like your struggling never ceases to end. Just when you get back up, it feels like you're brought to your knees yet again. Although trials and difficult times bring discouragement and pain, they are the source of tapping into a deeper level with God than we ever could have through the sunny and bright days. Maybe you're struggling through a circumstance right now that you just can't seem to overcome. You feel like your faith is failing and discouragement has the upper hand. Remember God is using this time to strengthen and deepen your faith. You may feel like it's the very thing that is breaking you apart, but when you come through the fire, you will be refined as gold. Your faith may be small, but we can rely on God because His strength is strong. 

We don't always understand God's plans. We question why. We wonder what if. We ask how long. We see the small picture, when God has the master plan. We get so focused on the tiny loose threads in the large tapestry that God is weaving together. We don't know how they all fit, but when it is finished we will see their full purpose and how they all fit together. We don't have to have our future planned out. We don't have to have control over our lives, because when God is the one directing us, we're right where we should be. God's knowledge far surpasses what we see. His plans for our lives have exceeded even our greatest desires. We may feel disappointed with what we see now, but when we see all the loose ends fit together in the tapestry that God is weaving we'll be fascinated by His master plan and understand He knew what was best all along!

Isaiah 43:2
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end.

3.09.2017

Focused Thinking

Are you engulfed in your current situations and feeling overwhelmed? Do you feel yourself being tugged into worry and discouragement? It's so easy to listen to the tiny negative whispers that enter our minds, allowing them to overtake and drown out God's voice.

Sometimes I allow my circumstances to overtake God's place in my heart and I wonder why my emotions fluctuate consistently. When my heart becomes focused on my circumstances, struggles and worries, I often find myself discouraged and upset. When we reset our focus onto God and let the world fade into the background we can find peace knowing He is near. He is working through our current situations, no matter how we feel or what we see.

I can get so caught up in areas of my life that I think are so vital for my existence. It's a quick reminder for me when they are removed from my life, just how much I rely on them. It is during these times that God reminds me just how much I need Him, and just how easily I place those things in my life before God. I have to step back and thank God for the many blessings He has given to me, but remember that I shouldn't let them control my life, and especially, my relationship with God. I want Him the first priority in my life.

Our prayers can often feel like they're being spoken into a dark void, thrown out and ignored. Satan loves to plant tiny seeds of lies that grow and multiply, spreading and overtaking the prosperous and flourishing ones. Once we focus on one tiny negative thought Satan sparks in our minds, we quickly find ourselves excessively making it a prominent thought in our heads. When you feel your mind heading down that all-too familiar road of deception, remind yourself to stop and refocus. Take your mind off your problems, struggles and worries. Set your mind on Christ. He's the one true thing that will never change. He's the only one that has control over all your problems and is always available and capable to help.

Don't let Satan win the battle. Keep God the center and entrust Him with whatever may be swirling around your head today. Don't worry, God's got it under control. He knows. He's got your absolute best in mind. He hears you!

I John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

3.01.2017

Take Over {poem}

When things seem uncertain and my path is unclear
Help me remember that You are in control; I don't have to fear
Let my faith be strengthened through this season
Remind me there is purpose to my suffering, even when I don't always see the reason

Help me to loosen my grip that I so tightly hold
Please take over, let me give You complete control
Take these heavy burdens I carry
And allow them to be used for something extraordinary

Remind me that Your plan is perfect and flawless in every way 
When things don't go as I planned, help me to keep trusting and obey
You will never lead me to a place that leads to a dead end
Though the road may get hard, You will be there through every bend

When I can't see what lies ahead
Help me to hand over the worries I fear and dread
I don't have to carry the burdensome weight anymore
Because I can rest assured that You have my best in store

My life may feel far from what I had planned
But You can use my imperfect life in far better ways than I could ever understand
Take my small broken life, hidden talents and passions
And use them for something far greater than I could have ever imagined!

2.25.2017

Goodbye {poem}

Feeling an all too familiar ache in my heart
It feels like it's tearing me apart
Wishing I could see your face once more
To have things back to what they once were before
Missing your words of wisdom and your caring smile
And your unwavering love and knowledge of the Bible
I try to hide the pain deep inside so nobody sees
But sometimes the pain hurts so bad it's hard to breathe
The tears of pain turn into tears of asking "why?"
Why are the people I love always saying goodbye?
How come once I grow close to someone You take them away?
Will anyone I love ever stay?

Life seems so empty here without you
I wish you were here now more than ever to help see me through
But I know God has supplied all I need
Without you here it has helped me rely on God more as my lead 
I miss you more than words can express
But I know that even through the pain God is working all things out for the best
He has shown me that even through the darkest of nights there is a dawn
And just when it seems like nobody cares, He's always there to lean on
In this life I'll have to say many goodbyes and I know things will change
But God will always be there and His love will always remain.

2.24.2017

Forgotten

Sometimes I look at the pain that I'm experiencing and I feel stuck in a rut. Every day it's the same routine. The same problems. The same struggles. I thought I could grow out of my past insecurities and overcome the discouragements I once felt, yet they still remain.


A BROKEN HEART

While driving home from work this past week I was questioning God - "Through this season it feels like You're breaking my heart, how can this be strengthening me?" It was then I felt God reminding me that God can use the broken pieces of a life full of pain to strengthen our relationship with Him. It is when we are at our lowest that we seek after God and crave Him more than ever. It may feel like God is breaking your heart, your joy is depleted and your hope is lost, but when we're focused on God, He can use our pain for something amazing.


I like to view trials as tests given by God to see what road we will take - the road full of pain and sorrow or the road of contentment and pleasure. Let me tell you the road of pleasure sounds tempting, but few take the road of pain and sorrow. We look at what we can see instead of where it leads. We focus on how we feel instead of what is true. Satan likes to use our issues and maximize the dominance in our lives. He wants us so focused on our insecurities, flaws, problems, and doubts that we perceive our struggling as something negative. He wants us to focus on our feelings and throw what is true out the window. He wants us to get so off-track, so discouraged that we keep walking down the wrong road. When we are walking on the path of pain we may grow weary, but we can remember that God is near and we can look through His eyes to see our situations in a different light.

ALWAYS ACCEPTED

When we see our flaws and feel discouraged in ourselves we can remember that no matter what anyone else says, thinks or does, we are always accepted in God's eyes. When our situation seems like it will never be made right, we can remember that God is in control and nothing sneaks past His hands. All things are working together for good. Maybe you're tired of waiting and wondering if God hears your prayers. God hasn't forgotten you. He hears you. He is protecting you. He is strengthening you. Keep going. Keep preserving. Don't lose hope.

God's timing is perfect and He has a reason for what He is withholding from you


A DIFFERENT PATH

Looking to my past I've seen things in which I've desired a certain outcome and God chose a different path. I tried to nudge my way in the direction I desired, but I felt God leading me down a different path. Now I can look back and see that God was protecting me all along. I didn't realize it at the time, but it's amazing to see how He always knows best, even when I somehow think I know what's best for me. How stupid I am sometimes. How I felt like I was forgotten, but then when I look back I can see that God never left my side. He was there all along.

We may feel broken and beat down by our current circumstances, but God is using this time as a test to see how we will react. What will you choose? To be strengthened or will you pass up an opportunity? Use this time as a launchpad to use your pain as a tool, not as a discouragement. Ask God to teach you through this trial. Nothing we go through is meaningless. God is using us even amidst our daily routine. He is in the small things just as much as the big things. Don't underestimate what God can and is currently doing in your life. Trust in Him, remember you aren't forgotten and you can look to the future with hope!

2.06.2017

Flawed | A 6 Day Study

Over the past few weeks I have been busy working on this study that I'm excited to finally share with all of you. While I was looking into the mirror one night, trying to decide what I should write about, God brought a word into my mind that I often stumble upon in my thoughts - Flawed.

How many times I look at my reflection in the mirror and I see a flawed person, full of insecurities, scars, imperfections and failures. I am a flawed individual, but it's also part of what makes me who I am. I am accepted and loved by God, flaws and all. This study is something I struggle with daily and I hope that this might be an encouragement to all of you as well.



I hope that through this study you can view your flaws and imperfections in a different way. Allowing you to use your flaws for something greater. Understanding that your flaws don't define you, but strengthen you. I'll share personal experiences from my own life, truths that I have found applicable and also share examples of Bible characters who also struggled in the same areas. I hope you enjoy it!



Download THE PDF >>

1.17.2017

Living for Applause

We all like to be wanted. We all like to be skilled, talented, sufficient and recognized. If you take a close look at your life you may find that a majority of the things you do are often in hope of recognition. We dress a certain way because we want people to approve of us. We say certain things because we want to feel smart. We spend time with friends to feel needed. We care for others in expectation to get something back.

APPROVAL FROM THE WORLD

Honestly, taking a look at my own life I've found many areas that I give, only to receive something in return. I look for approval from the world. I desire "applause" for the things I do. No matter how great we appear or how much recognition we receive, it never will suffice for our true heart's intent.

I hate to admit this, but I am a people pleaser. I believe a lot of us are. We want to feel accepted and wanted. We want to fit in. We want others to like us. When other people like us we feel better about ourselves. When we feel better about ourselves we feel happy. Even though at times this "happiness" may bring some temporary satisfaction, it often results in a downward spiral to discouragement. When we base our contentment and joy on something that is fleeting and fluctuating it is hard to remain steadfast in our view of ourselves.



When we live for the world's applause we are performing for the wrong crowd. We may get a standing ovation or we may be "booed" off the stage, but no matter the result we aren't defined by our performance. God sees our true intentions and we don't have to pretend or put on an act for Him. We are loved just as we are. No masks. No pretending. No disguising. We are loved just as we are.

HINDERED BY FEAR

I get so timid when it comes to being myself because I'm afraid that others won't like who I am inside. I hide my thoughts and ideas because I'm afraid they aren't worthy or insightful. I remain quiet because I feel less vulnerable when I don't express myself. Even worse, I do this with my faith as well. I become so disappointed with myself sometimes for my lack of transparency with the world. I want to be me, but sometimes I just feel like I'm tied back by my fear.

Satan is a great pawn in our performance act. He distracts us and gets our mind focused on people instead of the actual purpose of why we're here. He leads us into a way of thinking that gets us so fearful of what others "could" do that we ignore the idea all-together of stepping out and overcoming our fear. We let fear be the main hindrance that holds us back, instead of reminding ourselves that a rejection from the world is so insignificant in comparison to a "well done" from God.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

We don't have to get applause for the work we do here, because God will reward those who follow after Him when we reach our eternal home. We may not get recognition here, but one day all things will be made known. The unseen will be seen. Nothing will go unnoticed.

You may feel like everyone around you is receiving applause in comparison to your behind the scenes life, but just remember that God sees the hidden acts of kindness we do for Him. He sees the willing heart that is trying when everyone else seems to be receiving recognition. He honors those who serve Him even when they don't receive anything in return. I believe that is what true love is. Giving with no expectation of anything in return.

Choose to live a life that is not living only for applause. Live a life that is living for a cause. A cause much higher than the common everyday tasks. A cause to show God's love to others. Maybe just a kind act. Serving others and letting your actions speak louder than your words ever could. Don't give up when you feel invisible. Let your life be your voice. Live for a cause, not for applause!

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 Note: I am hoping to publish a new study within the next few weeks entitled "Flawed." Basically it's a study on feeling invisible, less than and insignificant. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all soon!

12.29.2016

Be Still & Know

Have you ever felt like your heart can't find rest from the weight on your shoulders? All your mistakes, mishaps, failures and insecurities keep you up at night and seem to dominate your thoughts. Your doubts and perceptions of others creep in and contaminate your positivity.

A MINDSET FOR FAILURE

Have you ever told yourself not to get to happy, excited or content with where you are because you knew it would end in dismay? Often times I discourage myself from getting excited or confident in anything because I know it will just let me down. I know it will lead to discouragement. I also intentionally worry so that I can go into situations with a mindset ready for failure, so anything short of making a total fool of myself will result in some sort of accomplishment. Yeah, I know, it's totally backwards and typing it out sounds even more absurd.

When we grow weary with our lives, struggles and circumstances we don't have to grow discouraged. When the world throws insurmountable pressures on us and we feel like we're not measuring up, we can remember these truths: Be still and know, you don't have to worry. God sees you. He will find you where you are. He is strong when you are weak. He is all you need. His love will never fail you. Trust Him. Just be still and know.


LET GOD TAKE OVER

I've realized that a big part of my worrying is caused by my lack of trust. I grow discouraged and upset in myself, and in my situations, because I don't trust that God has a perfect plan. I fear the future because I rely on my own strength and I don't trust that He will help me through. I worry because I forget the God that is by my side and I fail to trust that He is with me no matter where I go or what I do.

If you feel like you're heart is broken and your stressed beyond what you can handle, trust God, be still and know. Trust that God has got it under control. Give it over to Him. Let Him take over. Don't let doubt cloud up your view. Look at your situations knowing and trusting God will be with you - He will strengthen and help you through. You're not in this alone. Remember Who you are praying to. Remember who He is. He is an all-knowing, everlasting, never failing, never changing, faithful, loving, caring, understanding God. He is in control of all things and His plans are entirely for your best.

We can say all we want that we trust God, but trust comes when we have no doubts. No worries. No fear. Yeah, it sounds like a fantasy world, but true trust is when we have faith in God, knowing He is working and will help us through, even when there seems to be no hope. It's entrusting our biggest "if's," placing them in His hands and realizing He knows better than us. It's giving Him total control and not second guessing His power or plans.

IN CONCLUSION

Take whatever burden is on your heart and give it up to God. You don't have to carry it anymore. Cry out to the Lord, He's there to offer you rest and a refuge in the midst of your storm. He sees what you're going through and understands. Give the burdens of your heart to God and trust that He will help you through. He will guide you when your path is dark. He will be your strength when you are weak. He will be your stronghold when all else fails. He will remain with you even when everyone else abandons you. Trust Him. Be still and know He is working!

I found this song recently, and it actually inspired my post so I thought I would share it. I hope you enjoy it!