you are right where you need to be

I know you feel like every other person on this earth has found their purpose, and you’re dancing on you’re own two feet to music no one else hears in a swirl of clueless emotions.

beachYou really don’t know what you’re doing here. I mean, life is a little strange isn’t it? One moment we know why our lungs are full of air and our hearts are on fire and the next we’re wondering if we’re good enough to order our breakfast and latte without saying something completely ridiculous about vanilla syrup to the barista. (Please tell me I’m not the only one).

We waver down here. Waver because we are human. And we forget a lot of things. We let our brains get washed out with words that aren’t true. We start to believe what we keep hearing. Then we question what He tells us is truth. Then we go back to what the world is saying. Then we turn around and run back to Him.

You get the picture because your life is that picture.

I think sometimes we get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves, when the reality is He just wants us to move on and to keep going. He lifts us back up. We’re stumbling through life and every time something knocks us down, it’s an opportunity for us to call on Him. For us to ask Him to pull us back up.  You might be completely confused right now about what He is doing and were He has you, but you are never too confused to simply ask Him to lift your heart back to the place of surrender.

If you want to live a life that is truly full and alive, you are going to have to do a lot of things you do not feel like doing. Sometimes, you will not feel like asking Him to renew you. You will feel like sleeping. You will feel like filling your schedule with anything and everything else to keep you from having to be still with your own thoughts. You will run in this life. Run from anything that reminds you that you need Him. Because your heart knows it’s true, and sometimes it’s really hard to come.

A lot of days will pass where your purpose feels vague. But that does not mean your purpose is vague. What you feel is not indicative of what is true, but what is true informs how you feel–if you let it.

My heart doesn’t hold all the answers as to why our emotions waver, but sometimes late at night, it is full of thoughts and words that I have to write down. I have to write them down so that when I wake up tomorrow and want to choose to believe against what I feel, I have something to go back to. We all need a word sometimes to know that we are right where we need to be.

So here is a word for you.

You are not the only one struggling to find purpose. Our hearts are engrained with a longing to live for what matters. But this world and the emptiness here clouds our minds. We get so caught up in how today feels that we miss the bigger picture of what our lives are meant to be. You do not have to figure out what you want to do in life. Figure out who you are living for, and He will show you.

Your purpose transcends a career or what you “do”–it’s who you are. You are not defined by how successful you become or what job you land. You are not defined by a score on a math test or a GPA. You are not defined in comparison to someone else’s intelligence. Your purpose is to make the name of your King known, and He knows just how He wants you to do that.  He is making a way.

You are not stupid for wondering if you’re enough. We all do. Over and over again. You are not the only one feeling alone or forgotten or left out. I just hope you know that whatever you are feeling tonight, someone else is feeling it too.

You are one of the many. One of the many broken who has been made whole by a love so deep and full that all of life could not contain its beauty.

You are so incredibly loved. He loves you enough tonight to remind you to come back to Him. He wants you to be with Him. He has a purpose for you. You are not an accident. If you can’t figure it out, that’s a good thing. That means He wants you to focus all your heart on running after Him. He will show you in His time. He makes it all beautiful when He sees fit. He’s never failed before, and He is not about to start.

You are not alone. You have incredible purpose. You are not stupid. You do not fall short. You are so incredibly loved

There will never be another you on this planet. Let your passions and gifts and dreams grow and develop and pour out on other people’s lives. Sitting comfortable on what you know might feel good today, but you will regret it tomorrow. You never know who might be liberated when they see you spinning around caught up in a love deeper than all you can fathom.

Throw aside your doubts and step into glorious freedom.

Let the fear fall by the wayside,

Dance to the music that only you hear.

And know that in this glorious mystery there is a peace that comes when you know one thing:

you are right where you need to be.

shutting the door on distraction

notes:

-if we are always available to everyone, we will eventually have nothing to give to anyone

-we’re giving so much accessibility that we’re losing attention

  1. Discern the demands

What is the distraction? That’s half the struggle. To figure out what it is that is distracting you and what you should focus on. Jesus was comfortable in a crowd. We live crowded lives and we have crowded calendars. A lot of us live under the “one day” illusion.

Christ wants to connect with you in the crowded places in your life. He will give all of His attention to the one who has come to the end of himself. Sometimes you’ll have to leave the thing that seems more important. You need to discern where The Lord needs you now.

PRAYER: Lord, show me what really matters.

2.  Locate the leaks

Your brain isn’t as capable when you multi-task. Even Jesus could only do 1 thing well at once: He had to focus. We’re leaking life by switching back and forth so much.

Information comes at the cost of your attention. We’re at a time where we have a wealth of information and a poverty of attention. The presence of Christ allows us to locate the leak. Focus brings freedom. What you focus on matters. Focus on fear, and you’ll always be a prisoner. Focus on faith and nothing can hold you dow. You have been SO focused on the wrong things.

3. Pursue the Pull

Life is always pushing you in one direction and God wants to give you the ability to perceive the pull of His power that He’s trying to release into your life. It’s the pull in the midst of a pushy life. Jesus always refused to be pushed, but He could not resist the pull. When you feel that pull: pursue that.

Pulled apart vs. reached toward.

Distraction vs. focus.

4. Dismiss the Drama

There comes a time when the voices that are talking need to be silenced. When you shut the door on doubt, you open the door to destiny.

what economics and opportunity costs taught me about Jesus

I’m in my second semester of economics at FSU. Micro and Macro have been two of my favorite courses so far. One of the biggest concepts hammered into my head is the term ‘opportunity cost.’

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

My professor makes it a point to always make sure the definition is clear. “The opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative you give up when you make a decision to do something.” The golden rule of economics is just that: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There is always an oppoturinty cost, and there is always something you have to give up. You make your decision when you weigh how great the opportunity cost is. Essentially, you ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up, and what do I have to give up, to do this?” You cannot simply evaluate a choice based on what you’re going to gain. You have to look at what you’re going to lose.

Today my brain ran to an analogy. Funny how sometimes you connect little dots and all of the suddenly there’s an image and you don’t know how you haven’t seen it before.

Deciding to follow Jesus is just that, it is a decision. It requires an act of your will. It’s a daily decision. I believe you make it once. I believe He makes you His forever. But I believe that there are smaller choices that we face every day: will I follow Him, or will I follow the world?

If I follow Him, there’s a pretty big opportunity cost. There are a lot of things I have to say no to, myself being one of them. That opportunity cost involves turning away from good things to let Him show me the best. I have to give up living only for pleasure. I have to give up what people might think of me. I have to give up fitting in with the rest of our culture. I have to give up personal gain and advantage. I’m called to give up comfort and ease and safety. I might have to give up relationships. I might have to give up career opportunities that don’t bring Him glory. I have to give up part of “my” day. I have to give up myself and my “right” to my life. That’s a big opportunity cost.

Then I started thinking about what it would mean to follow the world. I might gain popularity, applause, approval, wealth, comfort, ease, temporary happiness, boys, more friends, and an easier lifestyle. But the blindfold fell from my eyes when I realized what the opportunity cost would actually be. I would give up the fullness of the presence of the LIVING GOD. I would trade my joy for a temporary satisfaction. I would give up peace, strength, purpose, and passion. I would exchange the power of the King of the World for power over people and their opinions of me. I might gain attention from boys but I would lose the gaze of the Creator of my Soul. I might climb the ladder of success but my heart would sink under the weight of it’s guilt and paralyzing shame. I might build the largest house ever built by man and yet it would never be filled with the genuine love of God. I might experience the “freedom” of believing it all means nothing but at the end of the day I would lose any spark in my soul without knowing that I have a purpose.

I am not prepared to give all of that up. What Jesus Christ gives me cannot compare to anything this world could ever promise. He is the only One who can satisfy my soul.

Weigh your own opportunity cost. I’ve never been so thankful for my salvation. Trust me, following Christ is an “economical” decision.

control

con·trol
kənˈtrōl/Submit
noun 1.the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

verb
1.determine the behavior or supervise the running of.

Raise your hand if you’d prefer to supervise the running of your life?

For so long my knuckles were white wrapped around anything they could find. Anything I could find that would give me some sense of control. Control over where my life was headed or what opinions were formed of me in the back of someone’s head.

Where did we ever buy the lie that life is best when it’s left in our hands, when we can control it? When it’s tame and small and within our grasp? We like life our size. God laughs and says, “why? life is meant to be God-sized.”

Why have we settled for mediocre dreams that can be controlled and let ourselves believe that it is foolish and unrealistic to do something with our lives that might not be covered under an insurance policy? Something that might involve a risk. Something that might involve a rejection.

In our minds what is held in our hands is safe. We have to realize that the only full life is one that isn’t held by ourselves. The only full life and dream and heart is one that is in His hands, and it is anything but safe. That means things are way out of our control. That means life is so much crazier than what we can come up with. That means that a lot of our stereotypes and expectations have to be shattered.

Take one thing from this: the most dangerous place your life and dreams could be is in your own hands.

His life for us is so much bigger than the lives we have planned for ourselves. Fuller, deeper, more abundant, and riskier. It’s frightening and peaceful and chaotic and confusing and beautiful.

We’ve settled for less in thinking we have to live contained and controlled. We’ve cheated ourselves by holding on to what should be in His hands. And until it’s all back where it belongs, we’ll keep running in circles.

No amount of control is ever going to fill a heart that keeps wanting more. Because control and safety and certainty is not the answer. The answer is you do not know, and that’s the point. The answer is that the very essence of life’s beauty is its mystery. The answer is, that it is way out of your control.

And that is the best possible situation you could be in. Completely surrendered. Completely “not” in control. Completely given over to the God of all the Universe who is writing a story for you that is anything but ordinary and contained.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t do ordinary things. It just means He has called you to do that ordinary, mundane, scheduled stuff in an extraordinary way. It means that you will never find His unexplainable joy in safety and in sameness. He will break your walls down. He will ruin your version of comfort. He will set you on fire with a longing to be anywhere but in the driver’s seat. He is going to use you, I know it. But you have to realize that the greatest gift He will ever give you, is to make you realize that you control nothing. Sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes it hurts way harder than you think it should. But it is always worth it.

No, you are not in control. And for the record, that is the best place to be.

passion 2017.

 

Passion was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like it. There’s a lot that I don’t want to forget from those few days. & so I’m writing them here so I can always go back and  read them over and over. I don’t want to come “down from the mountain” and live unchanged.

Our hearts get puffed up when we simply learn more stuff. Words can enter our heads and never sink into our hearts. I want the passion behind this movement- behind the words spoken and the praises proclaimed-to saturate my life. Hearing a powerful message is one thing. Living it is another. The disjunct between truth and the tendency to live by feelings is life’s great battle. One we will fight, and one we will win, in Him. So some reminders wouldn’t hurt.

passion17

C h r i s t i n e   C a i n e

We don’t need more gifts or talent, we need endurance. God isn’t going to pull us out of uncomfortable circumstances. No, endurance stays. We need to stay. Be present. Push through whatever we face. We need to endure and we can because of Christ.

You have to lay aside what is holding you back. The weights and sins that are keeping you from the presence of Christ. Lay them down & run to Him. Stop competing and start being faithful to God right where He has you. He isn’t looking at your success compared to someone else, He is looking for faithfulness.

Don’t believe the lie that what you do today doesn’t matter. Where you set your heart today-during these years-will determine the course of the rest of your life. Yes it will look different and no you may not win man’s approval. Your heart is your compass right now. Set it straight to Christ. Look up, it’s all about Jesus.

J o h n    P i p e r

The essence of evil is to lose a taste for God and to prefer anything more than God. Eve delighted more in what the fruit could do for her than what God could do for her. You have to get beyond the commandments to the reality, that the ultimate essence of evil is when you taste the glory of God and you want to trade it.

Until you see and hate evil, you will perpetually dumb down the majesty of God. The greatness of God is magnified when you are satisfied in Him. Guard your heart, and fight the battle. The battle for satisfaction in your God.

passion3.JPG

F r a n c i s   C h a n

One of the most destructive things we can do is to rely on our own thoughts. We need to stop believing everything we think and valuing our own thoughts more than God’s. Get outside your own head.

We can’t believe everything we feel either. Pray for the Spirit of Revelation. Pray for His thoughts. Get alone with God and empty out your own thoughts and feelings. Exchange them for His. In short, tell yourself to shut up.

L o u i   G i g l i o

Jesus did not come so that we could get some of Him, He came so we could have all. The cross is devastatingly beautiful because it is the only place where the dead come to life. It cancels our guilt and shame.

Never again walk unworthy in this world. The story of the victim ended at the cross, and the story of the victor began in the empty tomb.

L e v i   L u s k o

It takes endurance to spread the fragrance of Christ. To make fragrance, you have to be crushed. Courage is contagious. Fear is faith in the enemy. Confidence inspires confidence.

Jeremiah was a man destined for impact. He didn’t just save you from hell, He saved you to shake the gates of hell. Ministry starts at home. Where you are right now. How will you be faithful somewhere else if you cannot be faithful with what you have been given?

The only way to get to your destiny is through difficulty and discouragement. You need to be challenged and reminded of the calling on your life. We must train for the trial that will come.

It is an honor to be trusted with pain. God puts to use what He puts you through. Would you be willing to be broken for Him to bring His purpose to the world? Jesus always breaks the bread before He multiplies it. We have to lean in to the breaking.

Quit relying on willpower, you have God’s power.

 

dear 2016; thank you

2016,

If I could change anything about you I don’t think I would.

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

This year, I met my insecurities. They walked up and introduced themselves to me. I learned their first names and then I quickly learned I didn’t want to keep company with them for long. I saw them for what they really are-liars. Frauds. Deceivers.

Once I met those insecurities the blindfold fell from my eyes. I could see, and what was even more beautiful? I could dance. I could run free. I could sing and my heart could swell. My heart could ache and my heart could rejoice. Yet in all of that, I could actually live, no longer held back by lies that had become my heart’s reality.

Because fear can really drag the life out of you if you let those insecurities convince you it’s worth your time of day.

The freedom came when I realized that it wasn’t worth my time of day.

It’s a lie and my soul learned the shattering reality of freedom.

2016, you taught me what I love to do.

When those insecurtities were no longer welcome here, a purpose came flooding in. Purpose was a welcomed guest. It still is. I embraced it, and it set my soul on fire. I’ve welcomed it in, and now I have a lifetime to get acquainted with it. There is room. So much room. Room for that purpose to fill up my heart’s home. And room to learn about that purpose for the rest of my life.

I learned what sets my heart on fire. That somehow by putting down my messy thoughts into words and sentences and paragraphs I can lay out what is on my heart. I learned that I may not love speaking my thoughts, but I crave the freedom of writing it.

I didn’t just meet my purpose this year. I met a few others. I met myself. My shell was cracked. I learned to loosen up. The girl who cared so very much about what people thought is still a little part of me, but nothing like the girl whose heart was lit with the sparklers of self-doubt at the beginning of 2016. I have learned confidence. Not in me-but in the fact that a perfect King makes no mistakes. That he declares my timid voice bold, my wavering faith strong, and my insufficient works enough.

You taught me that it’s ok to not be in the same place everyone else is. You taught me to give myself time to grow and realize that other people might have figured out who they are in this world in high school. I might be a bit late. But that’s ok. I learned to give myself time.

I learned that there’s a reason for where I am. There’s a divine piece of glory in this mundane daily grind. There’s overflowing grace in an overflowing schedule. There’s so much more than grades or numbers of approval.

There’s a lot of myself left in me that I don’t love. But with every crack of brokenness that has shattered me this year a little more of my God has flooded in, and a joy has filled me like never before.

2016 pulled back the curtains and let the light shine in.

It’s the taste of freedom and purpose I have experienced.

That’s what this year brought me, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

There were days I was so happy with my little world and days I hated it with all of my heart. My faith faltered. I questioned and doubted. I came back to Him. I ran again. And I always found His arms open and waiting for me.

I used to despise the uncomfortable, but you taught me that the uncomfortable days make a way for joy. And now I know, I am right where I am supposed to be.

Thank you for teaching me how to feel, how to live, and how to know a joy so deep and wide nothing can compare. I love this life.

I’m forever in love with you Jesus. Keep me in awe, not just of your goodness this year, but how you sustain my every breath.

Retreat

I rolled over this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So the house is quiet and no one else is up. It’s not that early, it’s just the holidays. I logged on to type some words because I couldn’t find my book. And then I saw the “daily prompt.” Retreat.

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Naturally, I clicked on Merriam Webster online and looked it up. The first definition read

a (1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable

Saturday night the pastor’s words stuck in my head.”We are in this world but not of it. And God saved us from the world to send us back out into the world.”

I’ll admit that scares me. I would much rather retreat. I’m an introvert who tends to quit on resolutions and difficulties easily. I really like what I’m already comfortable with. But sometimes I think I it’s simply that I’m afraid of showing up to my own life. Most of the time I retreat because I’m afraid of what could hurt me.

I think we all do it from time to time. Holding back because if we gave more it might take a part of us. We’ve covered up our beautiful ability to feel pain because we’ve started to believe that certain emotions show weakness.

I’m more and more convinced that we have to let ourselves feel the highs and the lows. We have to know pain in order to know joy. To know a loneliness somewhere so deep that we can feel an acceptance and love so full. I think maybe life is that way. We cannot know what we are missing until we taste what we never want to miss again. 

Retreat is easier. But it makes life boring.

If you want your life to count for something? Make it your mission to quit retreating from the purpose you’ve been given.

That’s my one goal for this next year, to stop thinking I can come up with a better purpose for myself than the one I’ve already been given. To stop quitting on life and to start showing up. Not because I’m not scared, but because I am scared. And bravery doesn’t mean the fear goes away, it simply means you do it inspire of the fear that might linger.

New years resolutions can pile up and then you forget what you really want to change. So don’t change so many things. Change one thing that will change everything.

Show up to your life. Every. Single. Day.

Show up with a sword ready for the unknown.

Show up bold & courageous despite what opinions they might have.

Show up because you know your life matters.

Show up to the difficult, dangerous, and disagreeable with a brave smile, because you know how it all ends.

Show up because He didn’t save you to sit back–

He didn’t save us to retreat.

 

via Daily Prompt: Retreat