enough + enough

she sat down and breathed deep. her heart and mind needed clarity, a place of quiet, peace.

she felt the trap of comparison slowly pulling the life out of her, and she was tired. after all, it’s exhausting work trying to be someone you’re not. It’s exhausting work placing a standard upon yourself you weren’t even made to match. It’s hard to pretend to be someone you’re not. It feels impossible to breathe when you’ve convinced yourself you have to fit the mold that squeezes who you are out of you.

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she let her head rest agains the grass and looked up. there are times in our lives when we feel incredibly small and insignificant; this was one. so many things had begun to feel empty in her life and her heart, unclear and confusing. the enemy had begun to tell her that if something in her life was not as clear as day it was wrong– when really she needed to see that Jesus trumps clarity.

Jesus trumps confusion.

Jesus trumps suffering.

Jesus trumps feelings of worthlessness.

Not because he removes confusion and suffering and feelings of worthlessness but because He is greater than them.

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I want to plead with this girl–because it’s me. yet lately in my soul there seems to be no greater distance between what I know and what I feel. but girl, if this is you, keep seeking Jesus. keep pressing into him on the days and throughout the weeks when you don’t feel like it. seek first his kingdom, his righteousness, his glory. seek to serve and realize it’s not about you, and your feelings of emptiness will fade.

I’d tell her that if you are not living as the person King Jesus created you to be, no one else will do it for you. you are small, but so far from worthless. your heart and your story are completely unique to you, no one else can take your place. don’t despise openness, honesty, and vulnerability. It may be hard, but learning to be open is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. let the world see your brokenness, and in your weakness, let the world see the greatness of your God.

and that other girl who seems to have everything together–she’s hurting too. we’re all broken, and to pretend we don’t face struggles each day is to miss out on knowing the great strength of our God. If you could do it all, you wouldn’t know the joy of prayer and the presence of God. If you had everything perfectly together the sweetness of surrender would be distant from your heart. you were made for purpose, not perfection.

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change comes softly and slowly. stop trying to be someone you’re not and stop wearing yourself out because you haven’t grown to be the person you long to be. you are enough. let his song of pleasure over you delight your heart. you are held.

she looked up into the clear night and pulled the blanket around her. and slowly she began to whisper to her own heart that the One who hung the stars holds her tight. she didn’t have to fight who she was and wish she was someone else, she was free. and in freedom we find the joy of surrender, of giving all of our heart to Jesus. whisper it to your heart, “you are enough.

because you are truly enough.

the thing about dreams

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she stood at the edge of the water, looking out. looking in front of her, at what was coming. she saw each stair-where it was leading. she knew the next step, and that made her feel secure.

it made her feel comfortable.

she opened her journal to write but all she could do was grasp the pen with an adamantine grip. control’s riveting power was becoming her idol and her heart was beginning to long to know tomorrow instead of longing to know her King.

she was a hopeless romantic with a bucket list full of dreams. she didn’t say much. she had her faults, but she didn’t hide them. her journal was chock full of ideas and dreams and inspiration and beauty. her soul was deep, too deep to be understood by so many who settled for shallow.

and lately all she could think about was tomorrow. today didn’t seem to be enough to keep her soul captivated, or enough to fill her with joy. she saw joy as a “someday”, a state she would reach when what she wanted came to be true.

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but in the midst of the confusion of her heart, the King of heaven took her on a journey. a journey of not-knowing her future, so she could know her God. a journey of learning to see that this moment is enough, and her God is more than enough.

it was hard and it took a long time. day after day of waking up and realizing that she was created to live in the present, not so consumed with her hopes for tomorrow.

and in time she came to learn his love as greater than all her hopes and dreams. the waiting was blessed. because she learned that when she wanted something so bad, she had to surrender. to surrender and know that Jesus had something better. she saw how God works in mysterious ways, and one beautiful thing she learned: her King is always faithful, He will have His way. and in the center of His will she found purest joy.

she realized that joy isn’t someday, it’s today.

she learned that contentment isn’t tomorrow, it’s right now.

she believed He was faithful, faithful to give her joy and dreams too glorious to imagine herself.

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see that’s the thing about our dreams: they’re not truly dreams until their given to Jesus. when they become surrendered, and no longer ours, they become more beautiful than we could ever know.

don’t just dream. bring those dreams to Jesus. and watch them take flight and soar to beautiful heights on the wings of His love.

so today let your heart beat to the beautiful rhythm of his grace. refuse to fit in and be average. refuse to let the world suppress your beauty and define and validate your soul. live for your King Jesus and show His love wherever you go, whoever you meet. get outside yourself, your dreams, your desires, and know this: He’ll fulfill your dreams in a way that might surprise you.

to anyone who wants to be perfect–like me

maybe you’re like me. maybe you don’t want to mess up. maybe you want everyone to like and applaud you. maybe you want straight A’s just to say it and a brilliant mind, and although you might not admit it-it’s so that you’ll look good.

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IMG_4336maybe you’re like me–and you want to be perfect.

you want your hair in place and eyebrows on flee and clothes coordinated. you want your pictures on instagram flawless but not too filtered so people don’t think you’re trying to cover something up.

you want 8 hours of sleep each night and flawless skin and a kept schedule. you want to workout and have a job and go to school and church and hang out with friends and do it all.

you want control.

you want your life under control. like me.

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why?

why do you want perfection?

who are you seeking to please with your perfection? Is it a person? or people? or ’cause your future education depends on your grades?

and since when did we start to gauge our success quantitatively instead of qualitatively?

and yes, I’ll admit it. I want approval. I want the world’s approval–but oh I long so deeply to not desire this! the conflict of desires sometimes kills me. and the world’s unattainable standards of perfection–they break me. they break everyone who pursues them. in fact, they are designed to.

because I chase them down in a fury until I’m so weary I wear and I lay before the Lord and say “have Your way, transform me. I have nothing of myself to offer.”

that’s what He wants. He doesn’t want your perfection. He wants your brokenness, your weakness. don’t think for a moment that you need perfection of your own. your weakness is a catalyst for his glory. because if the world filled us, we would never feel our need for Christ–we would never experience the joy of knowing him.

and a number on a GPA or a scale or a rating is a number. My Jesus is greater than a number. He’s greater than my inability to focus on schoolwork and He’s greater than my lack of concentration on a task before me. the moments of greatest importance and strength, are often the moments when I feel the least important, and weak.

He doesn’t look at your weight or GPA. He looks at the three nails pierced through His Son and declares you perfect. perfectly complete in His righteousness.

what does it matter if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? you’ve got to want to know Him more than you want to be known by the world.

when the rich young ruler came to Jesus–Jesus didn’t want his perfection, He wanted his heart. and He wants yours.

 

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I don’t know where you are today. maybe you’re just a 17 year old girl like me who’s overwhelmed by the world and its pull or maybe you’re a mom chasing kids or a student pursing an education. wherever you are-just run to Him. and don’t leave your weakness outside the prayer closet, bring it in with you. bring your weakness to him. bring your imperfection and confusion and feelings of inadequacy to your king.

He makes the broken-the poured out-the weak, beautiful.

a reward beyond compare

forsake all else.

renounce all that he has.

those words hit hard.

“so therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” // luke 14:33

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He says renounce all that this world promises will make you happy. He says renounce the lust and the lies that you’ve been living on. He says renounce your pursuit of money, or popularity, or outward beauty. He says renounce your possessions–hold them so loosely. He says renounce the opinions of family members and friends and co-workers. He says “live for Me alone.” No other opinions: an audience of One.

I think we’ve made Christianity easy. we’ve diluted the imperatives of discipleship. we don’t want to renounce all else because our flesh still wants the world and we’ve adjusted our theology to fit our lifestyle.

and as Christians, we want to talk about how Jesus is so good, how He’s all we need, and how He is our King, and oh what glorious truths! but then why is the church in America so consumed with careers and money and personal achievement and outward appearance and new programs and bringing more people in–instead of the one thing we should be consumed with: Jesus.

you see forsaking all else for Jesus is not an option of discipleship–it’s the point. as disciples we do not live for a cause or for principles, we live for a person. our servanthood should be fueled by deep, deep love for our Savior.

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and when we love Jesus more, we begin to see how empty and pointless the pursuits of the world really are.

when we love Jesus more, our hearts fill with love and compassion for those around us instead of judgement and envy.

when we love Jesus more, we go to bed praying and walk up singing “take the world, but give me Jesus.” we want Him more than we want to be known or admired or respected by the world.

but only through his Holy Spirit can we have that kind of love. it cannot be done on our own.

Oswald Chambers said it perfectly: “Whenever the Holy Spirit sees an opportunity to glorify jesus through you, He will take your entire being over and set you ablaze with growing devotion to Christ”

discipleship is not just following…it’s falling. falling in love with the Breather of the stars and Creator of your soul. we have to hate all else in comparison to our love for Him. we have to count it all as loss for the reward and joy and glorious privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord.

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I’ve been thinking lately about how what we treasure reveals our hearts, and how far I have to come in this area. when I treasure man’s approval instead of God’s, when I pursue the trifles of the world, I’m denying with my actions what I say with my words, that Jesus is all I need.

So let Him truly be all we need. as disciples let us not hesitate to pick up our crosses, and renounce all else, to pursue more of Him and His glorious beauty.

the reward is beyond compare.

dear madyson, about social media

a letter to myself:

Dear Madyson,

about social media.

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numbers have a way of making you nauseous, a way of pulling you away from what matters, a way of controlling your joy if you let them. it’s pretty silly, but it’s true–you let a number define you. a scale or a picture or a following. you compare. you compete. you want to be better and prettier and thinner and more popular than the other girl.
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you lose your focus, you run after the world and the things of the world and you think you’ll find your validation there.

but this: whatever you let validate you will invalidate you. people’s approval is not worth the price you pay. that price is your soul–yourself. you can give all you have to be accepted in the eyes of the world but it will destroy you.

and if you wrap up your worth in double taps on an instagram picture-or comments or followers–you’re setting yourself up for some painful invalidation. if you fix your eyes on the temporary, you will be left empty. but if you focus on King Jesus and soak your life and soul in His Word, then you have meaning, then you have joy, and beautiful fulfillment.

comparing numbers will make you sick and if you don’t find your value in Jesus you won’t ever find it. you’re consumed with their opinions when you should be consumed with this:

“let your light shine before men.”

you can let a silly little app consume your lives and validate your work or you use it as a platform for King Jesus–to shine forth his light, to share his joy, to encourage souls, to capture and record the beauty of His glorious world.

or maybe to pray for a person when you see their picture. lift your desires a little higher–actually much higher–set them on Jesus.

 

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in this generation of insecurity and impossible standards and destructive comparison, bring your heart to Jesus. focus on Him. you are bombarded on every side by lies and voices that should be ignored. surrender all to King Jesus. tell him your weaknesses and hurt. he gives grace upon grace.

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listen: cling to your Savior. take your eyes off of numbers and what others are doing. fix your gaze upon what is most important.

 

live to bless, not impress. 

sincerely,

me

Round of applause, I pause to take a photo op
None of it’s real; it’s just Photoshopped
Crop out my flaws then my failures, my aches and all my ailments
Now I’m picture perfect, take all my dirt and conceal it
Really, I no better than any
But they pay me a pretty penny to sit and look pretty
Not too big, not too skinny, be whatever these fans demand of me
‘Cause otherwise they probably wouldn’t love me
The show goes on even after the curtains close
I smile and pose, put my signature on they clothes
They lift me up so high that I’m surely about to fall
The higher that I go the more unforgivin’ they are
No grace and no exceptions, all they want is perfection
The man in the mirror can’t even see his reflection
You live for their acceptance, you die from their rejection
But even if I fall, I fell in the right direction

-lecrae

 

 

one thing to remember when life hurts

this aches. was it real? my mind replays the scene. that sound over again and that scream for 911. it replays and my heart beats out of my chest again. I see the compressions in my mind and his body jolt from the shock. I see people running and sirens and first responders rushing in.

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I step back again so I’m not in the way. and then the twenty minutes of compressions. the stretcher and his body covered with tubes and masks. then 30 minutes of try-to-collect-yourself moments before the hospital pronounces him and you break down. it’s not like anything else-being that close to death, and physically only a few feet away. you just clock out and go home because you’re seventeen and what do you know about handing this kind of stuff?

you go home and cry because there is a time to mourn and this is one.

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it doesn’t seem right. he was too young. it was too fast. life is too fragile. but that’s just it: life is fragile. and we think we’re invincible and we try to always be right and always have a cure but it’s not going to happen. this world is broken, you feel it now more than ever.

you go home and you realize how frivolous so much stuff is. you realize it’s SOULS that matter-people and their stories and their hearts. and you lay down your judgmental + critical spirit at the foot of your King + ask him for a heart that truly loves. You go home and you realize that this breath might be your last-so you should make it count, live it fully, and use it to LOVE. you realize you want to live for OTHERS because that is what will complete your joy and bring Him glory. you realize you’ll never forget this-and you shouldn’t.

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because this will drive you to your King-to Rest in HIs Shadow, to sit at His feet and learn of His goodness + grace and the hope eternal we have in Him alone. when you’re a mess of emotions and its late into the night, you know one thing: keep holding on, you were made for a better place.

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19443302305_d85cbfe862_kit’s ok to be broken, it’s ok to cry, and it’s ok to hurt. because in all of our pain his glory and grace come rushing in. his mercy compels us to deeper love and His arms wrap close around us. turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face-and the things of earth will grow strongly dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

 

 

the four questions

our hearts are all searching. we’re all seeking something. whether it be fame, wealth, popularity, or the presence of Jesus Christ and eternal joy in Him. our hearts were so designed that we’re longing for something. this past week I had the opportunity to hear one of the humblest, clearest, men of God preach. my heart is yearning for more to know the glory of the hope of Jesus Christ and so I’ve come to share what made such an impact on me.

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the four questions

the questions that we all ask at some point during our lives. we may not ask them in this order–we may not even realize we’re asking them, but all of us will.

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What’s wrong with the world?
How can what is wrong be made right?

there are two worldviews. there are two ways to answer this question. there is a white, and there is a black. the culture//non-Christian worldview has their answers. and the Christian worldview has its answers.

and so the non-Christian worldview offers these answers::
Who am I? I am the result of random evolutionary processes. I’m an accident.
Why am I here? I am here to consume and enjoy.
What’s wrong? People are either insufficiently educated or insufficiently governed…or insufficiently medicated.
How is what is wrong made right? Violence: anger management class—or you need to be governed or medicated. We need more meds, more education, and stronger, more sufficient government. All of this will lead us to “utopia.” It doesn’t satisfy. You know it-I know it. The culture tells children we are here because of an accident. Educate better, medicate better, govern better. But things continue to get worse. It doesn’t satisfy and it doesn’t ring true. You’re still left searching for an answer.

If we’re all the result of random evolutionary processes the only right thing is to take what you want from those who have it. If we’re here to consume and enjoy—what else is left to do? What happens when you educate a violent person? You get a more sophisticated violent person. Who is gonna govern the governors? The culture’s answers are not ok. The world is not ok. Those who hear it—are not ok.

The Bible gives a different answer to those questions:

Who am I? The world says you are an evolutionary accident—and the Word of God says: I am the crown and glory of the Creation of God. The culture wants the results from our worldview while rejecting what accomplishes it. We are the crown and glory of the creation of God. Every soul has value and purpose and beauty and glorious worth. Because every soul is crafted by the one who breathed the stars into existence. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by jim all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–{Colossians 1:15-16a)

Why am I here? I was created to bring glory and honor to God my Creator. We live to the glory of God—and govern the things and ways we enjoy/consume things. The only way to get to conservation is through worship. The culture says we ought to worship the creation—we get there by worshiping the Creator who made us stewards over the creation. There is purpose and joy and hope here and now because of Christ. There is an eternal hope to which we are reaching. Oh, praise Jesus, this is glorious.

“all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” {Colossians 1:16b-19}

What’s wrong with the world? You. “Who once were alienated and hostile in mind and doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). I don’t do what I was created to do. And instead of bringing glory to God I’m hostile to Him. In short, what’s wrong with the world is sin. Our culture doesn’t like this category. We attempt to preach the Gospel without preaching about sin. The culture looks out and sees the problems—“we need to get them into the right environment.” What is wrong? Sin. You can’t look outside of yourself to find the problem. It can’t be educated, governed, or medicated out of you. Your problem is sin. I am at the problem with the world.

How can what is wrong be made right? The Cross. Oh the glory and hope in that ever profound and awful deed. We have no hope unless someone can come from outside of this world and rescue us. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us. He is our only hope. Our only hope is that we are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. Christ was born without sin and lived without sin—His active obedience—He is born perfectly righteous and in his active obedience he achieves perfect righteousness. If I am going to stand before God—alien righteousness has to be imputed to me. This is why all the Gospel matters, and the virgin birth matters. Because in all my wickedness Christ looked upon me and set his love on me. Not because of anything I have done–or ever will do. But because of the indelible riches of his grace.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. {Colossians 1:20-22}

This is our answer.

And it’s the only one that satisfies. There is not a greater answer we could come up with by philosophy. There is not a greater hope. The Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and it is sufficient to answer the questions of those who don’t even believe it.

“You can’t win, you can’t get even, and you can’t get out of the game.” That rings true without the Gospel. Without the Gospel, you have no hope. But God. to be short and true:

The only way you can have your best life now is if you’re going to hell when you die.

As believers, we’re not going to limp into heaven: He’s going to present us spotless, faultless, righteous. One day, we’ll get a bit of a glimpse into what this looks like. He will present you. One day, for those of us who are redeemed, Christ will look upon us—clothed in His righteousness—and He will say “Father, that’s your son.”

You can have utopia You can have your “best life now.” I’ll take glory. And I’ll enter there not by my own works-but by his work. Because there is nothing that this world is offering or proclaiming that comes close to that. Flee from trusting in yourself and flee to Christ. Live the rest of your life with the anxious anticipation that you will be presented before the Father by Jesus Christ–spotless, blameless, wholly His. Made worthy by his call.

love,

madyson

p.s. this post is based off of my notes taken from Pastor Voddie Baucham. be blessed by his ministry HERE