falling from what we want

It’s these stones of expectations.

Expectations we lay on ourselves. Expectations the world piles on us, and they grow, they accumulate to the height of a great cliff.

We’re scared of falling from the top of that cliff

It’s like this:

The whole world is built up on a mountain, it’s actually a dangerous cliff, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

unnamed-43Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset You can be a comfortable Christian there-it’s excitement.

It’s pleasure & ease.

& so our flesh wants to be there. The top of the cliff is one place where you’re soul can live in the world. Heightened on entertainment and high on yourself. The top of the cliff is home to the lukewarm who want just enough of Jesus to escape hell.

Even though the cliff is high, the souls of those who live there are always trying to build it higher for themselves, trying to outdo the next girl, each working hard on her own ambitions and pride and dreams and plans for her life,

hoping no one misses out or doesn’t see how great she is. Unless she builds herself higher and outdoes the rest, she’s convinced she won’t be seen.

The cliff is built up with layers of self. Things we want. Approval we crave. It’s where we feel safe. It’s built up with our perfect scenarios and our expectations of ourselves. It’s where we want to be, high, lofty, exalted, applauded.

We’re trapped at the top of that cliff, even though we may not know it.

We need a move of grace to come crashing down.

We can’t jump down, those waters at the bottom haunt us. Because if we don’t live up up to the life we’re supposed to, the life the world and our own hearts have led us astray to believe, we’re going to fall from that high cliff into those waters.

There’s something in that water, on the shores of those depths that we can’t quite see. We don’t want to come crashing down. We’re afraid of how that might look to others and how that might interfere with our plans. So we keep building our own selves and dreams and reputations higher. 

Until He interrupts us. Isn’t it true that His interruptions hurt the most, but they always bring us back to our purpose? 

Sometimes it takes the likes of something we may not understand, for God to get us from dancing with the danger of selfish ambition.

Sometimes it takes something we don’t understand for him to bring us from waltzing to our own melody on the top of that cliff of comfort, to wading on the shores of that beautiful river down below, in His presence.

Mining for that thing we couldn’t see from the top-

that is, the gold.

cliffsProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetgraduation6Sometimes it takes Him crashing all our plans when we’re high on ourselves on the top of that cliff,

to bring us down to the place of sweetest fulfillment. Walking on the shores of His love and then wading further out as we learn to trust Him.

And then swimming were we can still touch as we know more of Him, and then one day-in over our heads, fully lost, only him.

When we’re in over our heads in this river we’ll wonder why we ever wanted to be high and exalted in our own strength on the top of that mountain where we thought we were secure, but were really just tinkering with danger. The mountain we thought stood so tall, but in reality was a crumbling cliff we would fall from to our destruction if His grace didn’t carry us down. It was an illusion of comfort, maybe everything we think is secure is actually an ilusioneverything but Him that is.

And that affliction-that tribulation that slammed us into the rocks on the shore-

that fall of grace

-it was a good slam, a grace slam.

One day when our arms have been strengthened from swimming so long in the ocean of His grace we’ll raise them and praise him for smashing our plans against that rock and bringing us to complete and utter fulfillment in the center of His will.

Mining for gold along the coast of pain.

Finding beauty in the moments we may never understand.

Because no day is wasted when we live with Jesus.

Sinking our feet down into that sand and rooting our hearts forever in His promises that are “yes and amen.”

The beauty of being brought low is that He is so much more than we could ever see from the top.

His economy is one of smallness.

Of falling from that cliff, into His arms, into those waters.

& so wherever we are right now in this moment, we’ll stand strong in our struggles because there’s beauty when we fall. We won’t compare our journey to the girl next to us.

and when it feels like we’re cascading down a cliff of failure it’s really because He’s bringing us down. He’ll teach us to mine for gold in the river where we land at the bottom of that cliff.

When the pain and hurt is all spent and the joy comes,

When we’ve tasted that river of grace-

our hearts will explode with a love. A love we will want to be to a hurting world. It’s a love that extends far beyond the reaches of this world.

And a fall of failure from a cliff of expectations can’t contain that eternal, crazy, winsome love. The fall only magnifies it. Until it’s an exploding array of His grace and our lives can’t contain His joy. Embrace the fall from what you want,

you’ll find more of Jesus at the bottom than you could have ever imagined.

risen for relationship

 

she fell in love with Jesus

and everything else soon fell away

every other desire–

except the smile of His face upon hers

except His presence and grace and fullness

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she fell in love with Jesus-

and man’s approval fell to the side

she didn’t even care anymore what they thought

she wasn’t deterred by rejection

or concerned with meeting their standards.

 

she fell in love with Jesus-

Her Savior was resurrected

risen

He rose for a relationship with her

and she knew this within the depths of her being

this–His resurrection–it gave her life a whole new meaning

this love poured out through His blood captivated her

it stole her heart, and all that she was

it gave her freedom

freedom to be all He had made her to be.

and now there was one resolve in her soul,

to be wholly His

in thought

in word

in deed.mak

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Because that is truly why He rose. for His glory, for our greatest joy, for His deepest and most ardent love to be poured out over us through His agony. His blood brought beauty. His resurrection, relationship.

The truest Lover of our hearts laid down all His glory and magnificence so that He could know us eternally as His beloved.

So that He could rescue us from the clutches of ourselves. From self-obsession and eternal damnation. From the world, from the evil of our own hearts, from death. We are rescued from death forever.

& praise God we can know Him. We can walk with Him each day for all of eternity. We can know His fullness, the beauty of His presence and the joy of His face upon us.

because we have been labeled perfect.

blameless.

enough.

& it’s all because of Jesus.

 

 

what approval addicts need

our hearts are all aching for someone, or many people, to tell us we’re approved.

it’s a longing in all of us to be told we are enough and accepted. it can be a poison that infiltrates our bones and destroys who we were made to be.

if we let it go on long enough, we’ll soon find ourselves sick.

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consuming thoughts about gaining approval in the eyes of men are rooted in self-obsession. we’re looking and running after what only God can give us. we’re looking for love in all the wrong places, from all the wrong sources because it can only be found in Christ alone.

no matter how hard you try, the world’s approval will never be enough! but you will find yourself destroyed as you keep searching after what will never fill. man’s approval can never satisfy you because it’s not supposed to. we were not created to live to please man “in whose nostrils is breath” (Isaiah 2:22).

and we can’t serve two masters. we have a choice: serve the world, or serve Jesus Christ.

I think I’ve got an idea:

 

let’s long to be broken of our selfishness and pour our lives out for others.

let’s forget about ourselves and look only to Him.

let’s care less about whether someone approves and more about their soul.

let’s stop craving approval from a world that hates the God we serve.

let’s step out in faith and forget “I”

Just JESUS.

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John Piper’s words cut straight to my heart,

“So my counsel to every Christian who struggles with the fear of man’s disapproval and the craving of man’s approval, which is all Christians, more or less, is this: Realize that in Jesus Christ, in a solid, God-chosen relationship with Jesus, man’s disapproval cannot hurt you and man’s approval cannot satisfy you. Therefore, to fear the one and crave the other is shear folly. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) — free from the fear of not getting other people’s approval and craving it as though you just got to have it.

And the truth that set you free from that is: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). You don’t need to fear anyone’s disapproval when God almighty is for you. Think about it. Let it sink in. And the other truth is that knowing Jesus, looking outside ourselves to the glory of the Son of God in the gospel in the triumph for us over evil, looking to him is all-satisfying. “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8).

So the itch is satisfied, not with successful self-regard, but with breathtaking Christ-regard.”

and so the solution to this obsession isn’t to love ourselves more and be more confident in our individuality, it’s to forget ourselves, to lose ourselves in His grace, to reach up and out to a hurting world. it’s to become consumed instead with pouring ourselves out and living to make others rejoice in our God. it’s to forget about our own agendas and reputations and dreams and concerns and lay them all down at His feet.

is this something you struggle with? me too, girl! leave me a comment or shoot me an email (beautiefullthings@gmail.com) to share what helps you fight this and live for an Audience of One!

check out John Piper’s whole article on this:  http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/gospel-wisdom-for-approval-junkies

why there is beauty in feeling forgotten

you know it.

it’s a distinct feeling that rests in your soul and has you on your knees desperate.

no one seems to help. friends seem distant. you’re reaching out your hand but don’t quite feel there is another hand to hold.

alone.

you feel alone.

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you wear a smile but it’s a cover.

isn’t that how all hurting hearts want to be–covered?

everyone seems to be doing something more exciting than you. so you turn it off and try to tune out the fact that everyone’s life seems perfect but yours.

and you think “if I just had one person who really gets me, I’d be happy.”

we want one person who actually wants to spend time with us and cares. we want one person who we “click” with and can spend all our free time with. 

when Jesus just says “I am that ‘One’ person.”

we want to fill the feelings of loneliness and pointlessness with applause from men and likes and comments and phonically and texts and people wanting us.

when Jesus says “these lonely moments are to point you to My Face.” 

we want answers,

when Jesus says “I am the Greatest Answer to the biggest problem you could think of.” 

we want to have our lives perfectly planned out and safe,

when Jesus says, “security is an illusion. life is messy. trust Me.”

there is beauty in feeling forgotten, lost, and alone. I don’t believe those feelings are accidental, your King, your Creator-He placed those inside each of us. I believe they are feelings that have their place. They point us to Him.

but we cannot let those feelings reign king in our hearts. you will feel forgotten by the world. you will feel alone. the world is a big place and we are small. but never forget this:

you are brave.

you are beautiful.

you have a purpose.

you are never too much.

you are worthy of love.

you are worth more than the stars in the galaxy.

you are made in the image of The King of Kings & Lord of Lords.

I know you don’t feel it. you feel like you’re drowning in your loneliness and your own problems. but whisper it to your heart:

I have a purpose.

you don’t have to cover it all up with a smile because you want to hide-you can smile because even in what you’re feeling, Your God will come through.

and in the pain He is making your heart more like His. so hold on & trust Him. He is the greatest friend you could have.

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the novel of your life

beautiful and captivating and surprisingly simple- a story.

intricate details. there’s ups there’s downs there’s easy there’s hard.

a story is a beautiful mix of suspense and waiting and pure happiness and days of sweet, utter contentment. a story is a mix of hard, painful days, and beautiful, easy ones. a story takes unexpected turns to keep you locked in, to captivate all that you are with all that the author is pouring into its pages.

a story is many things, and yet it is unknown to your soul until you read it.

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blog5your life is unknown until you live it. but in every moment that you live fully you are living in the beautiful story your Heavenly King is writing for you. in every moment you are confused and burdened there is a beautiful blessing up ahead. in every moment you are hurt, there is healing in His grace right on the next page. healing that is so much greater and sweeter and more fulfilling than you could ever imagine.

just when you’ve had enough He turns the page. and the captivating thing is that He turns the pages of our lives with such graceful and beautiful hands. hands scarred thrice through with nails our sins drove deep. hands of forgiveness and grace that renew us, that shower us with mercy, that bring passion for the lives He wants us to live.

it’s a grace that has you captured because when His love invades a soul-no matter what is on the next page of your story-you’re secure in that love. you are held in that love. and you are treasured in that love in more ways than you could ever imagine.

some pages stay open longer and others seem a blur too fast to remember. and yet on every page, in every chapter, throughout every novel, there is a graceful blend of the mundane and the glorious risk of the unexpected.

unless you ask King Jesus for a heart pressed fully into His will for your life, He’ll be turning the pages and you’ll be flipping back or ahead because you’ll be discontent.

you’ll want something different. you’ll want your story instead of his story spoken through you.

perhaps the fissure of fear is driving you from seeing the beauty of his story in you. because fear does that, it destroys what our King has made to be most beautiful.

more than any other command in His word Jesus tells us not to fear. Do not fear for tomorrow, or for what men will think, or where you’ll be next year. you fear because you can’t control it.

you must learn to stop reaching for the pen to write your own story, thinking you can smooth over the pain with your own strokes or blur the bumps that make the story hard.

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give Him the pen. ask Him each with each sunrise to write His beautiful story of grace and redemption through you.

I want every heart to know this. I want my own heart to know this. That your story might not look like you envisioned, and that’s a good thing. because when your life is surrendered to a heavenly King who knows not just every hair on your head but has known every molecule in this universe for all of eternity-when you trust that same God with your story-you’re going to start to see something more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.

more stunning and captivating than all else. you’re going to see how he forms your decisions and mistakes and things you wish you would have done differently–He transforms all of that.

He uses that because it is part of your story.

part of his story that he is working in you.

the King of the Universe is weaving together million of novels of his children to bring Himself glory and honor and praise, to pursue His creation with a steadfast love. And to fear what is next in your story is to doubt the King of All the Earth. It’s to doubt that He cherishes you and that He knows what is best for the exaltation of His glory and the fullness of your joy.

He has been planning your story, and your joy, from all eternity. when the world tempts you to doubt by showing you your sorrows, look to your Savior.

He is writing it through you. and the greatest story you could imagine cannot compare to the majesty of The Eternal God’s plan for you.

your future is held in the hands of your King. nothing is a mistake in his eyes. no timing is a mistake, no words spoken-none of that is a mistake.

you’re going to have moments and days full of pain where you look back on decisions you made or things you said and your heart will hurt because you feel you’ve failed. you’ll feel as if  you’ve taken the wrong road and are too far gone. but dear hopeless wanderer, if you are indeed His child

He will always bring you back to the right road.

and even the times of painful wandering, they’re part of his plan. your mistakes are being weaved into a beautiful tapestry.

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0ne day you’ll see it. all the pages woven together in beautiful binding. you’ll look back and you’ll read His novel. a novel in which His love for you is displayed in infinite measure.

until you get to that day, keep believing. keep placing your faith in the work He is doing in your life. and don’t try to peek ahead and see what’s up next, we serve a God of surprises.

and perhaps the next one is just waiting for you if you step out in faith and believe Him to be the Greatest Author and the most loving Father.