who do you want to be?

Who do you want to be?

In the core of who you are – where nobody sees – who do you want to be?

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It’s a startling question really. To think about all of this. Because the second you start you feel you cannot stop. There is such an infinite reality of things and personalities and characters you can be. There is no limit to the amount of kindness you can grow to hold, no cap on the love that can spill out from your heart, and no stopping the creativity that can flow from your soul.

You hold so much power inside of you. There is so much beauty and potential to grow and become someone and something you never imagined.

I asked myself this question and I’m still scribbling down answers, memories in my head of people who I wished to be like, pictures etched of their joy and kindness and their hearts.

I don’t know where we got so trivial. So focused on the cover of a book. We spend so much time worried about our weight and not enough about how healthy and alive and full of energy we are. We sometimes hate our faces or bodies in the mirror and yet we can’t seem to remember all of the beautiful parts about us. We crave to be seen and heard and known and popular and yet we cannot sit alone with ourselves because our thoughts make our palms all sweaty and we get nervous.

We are beautiful beings bursting with ideas and sentences and pictures in our minds to capture and create and yet we stifle so much of that creativity sitting in front of a screen scrolling mindlessly through accounts of everyone else’s daily celebrations. Somehow we’ve forgotten our own.

We would rather look and see all the ways other people are enjoying their lives than we would embrace the gift that is right in front of us.

Who do we want to be?

I don’t want to be another dreamer who sits still and lets the world take her spirit. I don’t want to be a soul withered from comparison and defeated by my instagram that shows me how monotonous my life is. That is not the person I want to be.

& I think if you are here, you think that too. You don’t want to chase the trivial and float through on empty and shallow visions of what life could be. There is more. You are more. You have so much inside of you, and the world needs to see it. Don’t let it stifle your beautiful words. Don’t let them trample your beautiful art. Don’t let opinions put out the fire that burns inside of you.

Who do you want to be?

You can be her.

Starting now.

leave the pity party

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Do you ever have those days where everything seems so clear? Everything. The sky, your heart, your dreams, your passions–it’s all so pure and you feel fully alive?

Today was one of those. I was driving and turned on my voice memos to record all that my mind was sifting through. Sometimes you have to speak it. & then write it too. So on the blurry days, you can go back and read it to your heart.

I don’t know where or how we started equating self-degradation with humility. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re being “spiritual” by denying our worth. We’ve quit believing we have been given what it takes and called people who do so proud.

When we degrade our lives, our purpose, and our potential, and we think we have nothing to offer, we begin to define ourselves by that lie and it slowly invades every corner of who we are.

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. It is not spiritual to believe we are unworthy, unqualified, and ugly. It isn’t humble to think you don’t matter. It is not humility to hate who you are and to think you are not strong enough, able, and fully equipped to do all that God has called you to do with your life.

You are believing a lie if you believe that humility is thinking you are unworthy, ugly, and unfit. Humility is not those things. Humility comes when we start to believe that who and where we are is important in His plan. It comes when we realize it’s all about His plan. When our eyes open and we know that the world does not revolve around us but it does involve us. He is using us somehow, and in someway. I don’t know how or why He chooses to use us, but He does. When we decide that we’re not worthy of being used by Him, that’s not humility, but the greatest evidence of pride.

Because we think that we can say, “God–no–I don’t have what it takes.” And yet He has said, “look, I’ve put within you everything you need to do what I have called you to do. I’ve given you my Spirit but you ignore it. I’ve given you my Word but it sits on your shelf. I have given you everything you need, but you’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself and pitying your humanity to tap into the power I have put within your reach.”

He keeps saying it to us over and over but we won’t have it because we’re so focused on hating ourselves.

Self-hatred restricts you to self-obsession. Self-acceptance frees you to serve.

Self-hatred keeps you running away from joy. Self-acceptance allows you to plant your feet where God has you today.

Self-hatred keeps your eyes on yourself. Self-acceptance lifts your gaze to a Savior, to find who you are in Him.

Loving and accepting yourself is not selfish. It is not proud and it is not arrogant. Self-love in its purest, Biblical form is the absence of self obsession and the presence of a profound confidence in the person you are and are meant to be. 

It is a coming home to who you are. It is you no longer running from the face in the mirror or from the girl who you’ve measured as inadquate. It is an acceptance–a joyful acceptance–of who He made you to be and where He has placed you in life right now.

It is a perspective change. It is seeing yourself as one created intentionally by a God who makes no mistakes and placed you on this earth for this specific time in history. It is seeing yourself defined by that love.

It is you getting acquainted with yourself. Spending time with the one person you will never shake your whole life: you. Self-love is caring about your soul enough to be filled up so you have something to pour out. It isn’t about treating yourself to manicures or pedicures or a beach weekend with friends, it is about something so much deeper than that.

Self-degredation is so prominent in Christian circles today. We spiritualize it by saying we’re humble, when in reality, our pride is keeping us from seeing ourselves as Jesus sees us. Looking in the mirror and hating what you see, making comments about how ugly you are, how your personality is awkward or how you have no friends because no one likes you–those are the things that stand polar opposite to the message of the Gospel. Repeating them over yourself is one of the most unbiblical things you can do, and doing so will pull all of the potential and joy from your life.

It is possible for you to miss the incredible power and things that God can do through you if your head is hung in self-degradation.

When you gain confidence in who you were made to be and what you are meant to do here on this earth, you start to think about yourself less and less. You start to invest in your purpose. And in the meantime? You’ve come to love and accept the person you are.

I am convinced that one of the greatest weapons Satan is using in the church today is self-hatred. He does not want to see the church realize who they are. He does not want confident Christians. He really wants Christian women who look in the mirror and tell God he made some big mistakes. He really wants Christian men who spend all their time comparing themselves to other Christian men, and have no time to compare themselves to Christ.

He does not want Christians who love who God has called and created and equipped them to be. He does not want Christians who take hold of the power and resources God has given to them. He does not want Christians who accept the fact that they have everything they need in Christ and in the tools He has given them to walk out in bold, unashamed faith.

Here is what you need to know about hating yourself:

It is not humility. It is not spiritual. It is destroying who He has called and equipped you to be. It is pride and self-obsession.

I am uninviting myself from my own pity party.

I hope you do too.

photo: Erin Xialan Batts Photography

5 SPRING beauty favorites

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1. CC Creamcccream

Super lightweight and moisturizing, this CC cream is perfect for warmer weather. It gives you a sheer cover that doesn’t leave your skin looking orange or caked. If you have naturally freckled skin, it provides enough coverage to even your skin tone without looking

 

2. Bronzerchocolatebronzer

A little bit of bronzer My favorite is Too-faced in the chocolate shade. For a bronzed summer look, use a little on your eye lids in place of eye shadow.

 

3. Gentle Facewashgentle

If you have sensitive skin, or keratosis pilaris (small little bumps on your skin), this face wash soothes, nourishes, and calms. It’s lightweight and scentless to avoid irritation. It makes your skin SO soft.

 

corrector4. Naked Color Corrector

Lightweight + helps correct under-eye circles and dark spots on your skin. Apply a little bit underneath foundation, CC cream, or concealer to brighten your skin.

 

fauxtan5. Self-Tanner

This tanner provides an even, golden finish without drying out your skin or rubbing off on your clothes. It lasts for a week and applies evenly with a tanning lotion glove.

the scale has it all wrong

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A lot of us broken people have this thing with scales–with numbers and affirmation and a definition of beauty.

We let numbers sink under our skin and tell us who we are.

We let a mirror affirm our beauty.

We let the world define perfection.

I’m writing this because I’ve decided not to step on a scale again, and I want you to join me.

Body image can control every thought if we’re not careful. We let so much of ourselves be wrapped up in how we appear to others. We allow so much of our”worth” to be wrapped up in what a person thinks. We forget that those people we’re looking to for validation are broken too, and they’re probably searching for the same thing.

But what if our problem isn’t really with ourselves?

I know, it sounds weird. How could hating the way you look not be a problem with yourself?

However, I really do believe that it is not a problem we have with ourselves, it’s a problem with believing the incredibly beautiful truth of our God. It’s a question of purpose, not perfection.

We have to get it through our heads that just because you believe you are ugly doesn’t mean you are ugly. Just because that person treated you like trash doesn’t mean you are trash. And just because you feel like a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake. We’ve lost sight of truth, because we’ve let ourselves believe the lies for so long. You will live what you let yourself believe. You can choose to believe those lies, or you can stand up and defend your heart with the truth.

The truth that you, my sister or brother, are incredibly crafted with a purpose. That you are breathed upon by God Himself.

We’ve forgotten about that when we look in the mirror. We’ve forgotten about that in the way we treat others. We’ve forgotten about that when we’re up late crying because of a deep feeling of emptiness in our souls.

You are so much more than this world will ever tell you you are. But the answer to the pain isn’t to love yourself more, rather to embrace the beautiful purpose God has for you and forget yourself. It’s to find yourself lost in that beautiful purpose to bring Him glory through the passions He has given you. 

I have a choice: I could live my entire life wrapped up in pleasing people, in eating healthy, in running daily, in a trying-to-keep-myself-skinny kind of life. I could live my life constantly trying to love myself more and embrace who I am while inside I really hate what I see. Or I could be free. I could embrace who I am in Christ. I could simply embrace Christ, and watch as I beautifully come to understand my incredible worth because of Him. I could claim my freedom in Christ. I could realize that no amount of applause from men will ever fill the void in my heart unless I turn to Christ. I could have faith to see that the kind of freedom I need is not a freedom to follow my heart but to be unbridled, myself, who I was made to be. The freedom I need is to follow His heart. The freedom I need is to be beautifully caught up in this:

I can live out my purpose-and throw away what people think-because when God sets you on fire with His purpose for you life, you don’t really want to learn to love yourself more, you want to love Him more.

I’m not stepping on a scale anymore because it distracts me from my purpose.

A scale can tell me how much I weigh but it cannot tell me how much I am worth.

It distracts me from know the irreplaceable truth about myself, that I am so much more than how I look.

I’ve discovered that a purpose and passion for King Jesus is more beautiful than all the world has to offer. I’d rather be kind than skinny. I’d rather know my God than be known by this world, and I’d rather have people think I’m strange and overlook me, if it means I press further into the presence of my King.

Please know it tonight: the scale has it all wrong. You are so much more than a number. Let your heart dance in amazing love tonight. Let your joy soar and sing upon the mountaintops of His love. You are so treasured it’s crazy. You are so adored. It’s not because of anything you have done, but because of our beautiful God. I don’t care if not one person has ever affirmed your beauty on this earth, you are incredibly beautiful. Let’s begin to believe the truth, and let it invade how we live our lives.

The scale has it wrong, but God’s Word has it right:

you are loved.

a word to the broken

Dear broken heart; broken by the words someone said. Broken by someone’s opinion. Broken because someone who was close isn’t close anymore.

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Broken because that loved one who in your mind had 50 years left to live–

broken cause they’re gone.

Broken because turning on the news today can break you down like that.

Broken for the families who won’t see their brothers or sisters or sons or daughters again because they were in Orlando that day.

Broken because you were betrayed by a friend.

Broken because someone was chosen over you.

Broken because no matter how hard you try, you never measure up.

so. many. broken. people.

& we are broken for so many reasons.

But broken heart, you are welcomed here.

Hurting soul who has lost hope, you are welcomed here.

I don’t think it’s ok to pretend we’re ok and whole and strong when we aren’t. In fact, I think the most courageous thing we can do in a world of people trying hard to be “the strongest” is to own our brokenness and bring it to the Healer.

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I’ve struggled these past two years. There have been a lot of mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed. A lot of depression I’ve tried to fight off. A lot of brokenness I’ve tried to hide because I thought it would make me look weak. There have been a lot of days I’ve lived completely bound by insecurity and afraid that if people saw who I really was, they’d see that I wasn’t enough. I’ve felt like I shouldn’t share it because I’ve convinced myself that it’s really not that big of a deal, and that people are going through harder trials than mine.

I know there are hearts reading this who have been through a lot more than what I’ve been through–or will ever experience. But I am convinced that it is a bad idea to minimize our pain and tell ourselves we’re silly for feeling a certain way about something that is “so small.” I’m convinced it’s a bad idea to beat ourselves up for the way we feel instead of casting all of our emotions and feelings and pain at the feet of our King.

I also share this because God has brought me an incredible freedom in the past two months as He’s made my soul come alive to its purpose. To His purpose in me. You see, we can worry about how people perceive our brokenness and try to please everyone, or we can be raw and honest. God has called us to honesty, even when it’s not glamorous. Even when others see us as being too much to handle. He never sees us as too much to handle, and He always sees us as enough.

Please be honest with your brokenness. Don’t try to hide it. After all, you can’t hide it from the One who sees and knows all things.

Maybe you’re broken heart is what will one day heal another person’s brokenness.

We have to look beyond what we see today. How we feel today. What we think. We have to look to the hope of the beautiful things God does with broken people.

When you uncover your purpose, you can own your brokenness, because you are given eyes to see that your broken heart today is part of His story for your tomorrow. We can’t listen to the lies that tell us our brokenness defines us. We have to own it-and bring all of that cutting pain and deep weakness to our Savior. We have to trust, and to wait.

Because when we pour out our weakness at His feet it becomes a catalyst for the river of His strength to flow through us and consume all that we are in His love. Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

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& we can do this.

We can lay down our inadequacies, our depression, our pain, our weakness, our addictions, our sins, our struggles, our failures, our mistakes, and our regrets.

There is an abundance of room at the feet of Jesus for your mess. But there is an even greater abundance of grace to turn that mess into a miracle.

& after all, maybe we should praise Him for the fact that we are even broken–because when we experience brokenness, we know the beauty of being made whole by a Savior who holds this world. Let His love pour through you today.

Dear broken heart, entrust all that you are to your Savior. Only He can bind up your brokenness and make you whole.

& watch as He makes a beautiful story of your brokenness.

exchange the unknown future for a known love

What is it about all that we think we want, all that God wants, and how the two collide?

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It’s a painful collision. When what we had planned is dashed against the rocks of His strength and goodness. When our plans collide with the sovereignty of an all-powerful God.

There’s a thing about disappointments and broken dreams and dashed expectations. They hurt. Often times, they cause us to doubt our God. We build up all that we think we want and want for our lives–and then the weight of reality wrecks us: we’re not in the place we would expect.

It’s not the school we had expected.

Or the church, or the person, or the friend.

It’s not the ideal job, or the perfect relationship-

but really, it’s absolutely opposite of all we expected.

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The unexpected has captivated me lately. (maybe that’s why 90% of my blog posts revolve around this topic 😉 ) Why God lets it happen, why our hopes in certain things are wrecked, and why we come to the place where with all our hearts, we’re pleading with our God and asking “God, what are you doing?”

Our doubt is fed by dashed expectations.

We let ourselves believe that God is not good. We may deny it-but why are our hearts confused? Why are we not overflowing with His joy? Why are we not EXCITED for LIFE?

Maybe it’s this:

we haven’t fed our emotions with the truth. The truth of God’s goodness. We haven’t preached it to our fading hearts each morning as we should. We haven’t soaked it in and let it consume all that we are.

You’re emotions take what you feed them. So feed them the truth. Start now, today:

God is good.

His plans are good.

Because God is good, what He is doing in your life is GOOD. When it hurts, when it’s confusing. It is good.

My circumstances will never be perfect,

but my God will always be.

Preach that to your heart every morning when you wake up. It may be the last thing you feel right now, but I promise, when His grace wrecks you, it all breaks through in a beautiful, overwhelming joy.

We’ll soak it in and by believing the goodness of our God, our entire perspective on life will be changed.

Our perspective on trials will never be the same.

Our perspective on the unknown will be altered.

“In the breaking of every habit, someone wills it first and feels it later”

-beth moore

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My greatest fear used to be not knowing. Not knowing what tomorrow would hold, not knowing if I would get what I want, not knowing if I would experience my definition of living.

Why is it that I think I know what would bring me the greatest joy, when my God has been preparing the deepest joy possible for me since before I was born, if I would only surrender?

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: I don’t actually want what I think I want, unless it’s what God wants for me.

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: wrapping my heart up in fear of the future is actually me crying out, “God, I want your job.”

But I’ve been liberated. I don’t have to be God. I don’t have to do His job. I am His daughter. Liberated. Freed. Excited.

And now my greatest fear today is this:

wasting my life because I’m wallowing in what I want and why God isn’t giving it to me–instead of searching God’s Word so my heart can explode with joy at the incredibly perfect plans He has for me.

This is it, this is what I want to live for-

I long for what He wants for me.

There is no fear of the future in my heart, but unbridled excitement, anticipation that God’s incredible plans for me have already begun.

I’m going to chase down what He wants for me-because I don’t want my plans anymore. I’m surrendered to a God who has better things in store

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Join me in destroying your fear of the unknown, by believing what is known:

My God is good and all His ways are perfect. 

(( say it to your heart ))

Exchange the unknown future for His known love.

love & grace,

m

insecurity and I broke up

Insecurity and I broke up last night.

April 13, 2016–

been there. over. done.

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I never thought of myself as being held captive by insecurity.

I never thought it was the source of so much hurt and hindrance.

I never thought it was the breeding ground of the fear and lack of confidence in my life.

I never thought it was the thief that was robbing me of my God-given joy.

But my eyes-oh were they opened.

It’s been keeping me back from who I was created to be.

and now I see my pride,

and now I see my self-obsession,

and now I see my desperate need to be free.

I didn’t realize I have been held captive by insecurity for so long because I didn’t realize what insecurity truly was. Little did I know it was the source of what has been pulling my heart apart.

It’s time it is long gone from this girl’s heart. This heart that’s ready to be set free to run wild with God-exalting dreams. This heart that’s ready to explode with a love so vibrant and leave all of herself behind in the pursuit of Her God.

& so we’ve broken up.

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It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -Galatians 5:1

Insecurity tends to be defined as a generalized, vague notion in our minds. We might say insecurity is “not being content with how we were made” or “wishing we looked different.”

But oh it is so much more than that.

I opened Beth Moore’s book, So Long Insecurity, and I’ll never be the same. Let me pause right here and say that if you haven’t read it–please pick it up. So much of what is on my heart to share with you has its roots in her words and reflections ( I owe that woman some serious gratitude).

Every insecure heart pulsates reverberations of one thing:

doubt.

doubt in self & the beautiful person you were created to be.

doubt in God & the unfathomable worth He has placed within you.

Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt–a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate. -Joseph Nowinski

The insecure heart places unrealistic expectations on other people to fill what only God was made to fill, and runs on to the next thing if those expectations aren’t met, breaking down friendships and relationships and asking broken people to be its god.

The insecure heart weeps at the very thought of rejection. It is overly sensitive to every little thing someone else says or does. It lives in constant fear that someone will disapprove.

The insecure heart breaks the moment someone else does better. It wants to be a “the” instead of an “a.”

The insecure heart is not content with being average, but wants to soar higher, just to be better than someone else. Everything is a competition. Everything is a fight to be best.

The insecure heart wants to be the highest priority to their friend, boyfriend, family, or boss. It wants constant affirmation from these people that

And yet in all of this mess of an insecure heart–the most insecure person will often appear some level of perfect. Because perfection is what a diseased heart will use to patch the pain of insecurity.

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As I read through the pages of Beth Moore’s book, every word pressed into my heart and echoed,

Madyson: this is you.

This is you because all of this insecurity that is weighing you down is rooted in pride, self-centeredness, and self-obsession.

This is you because insecurity has made you do some stupid things. Insecurity has made you sit quiet and not speak for fear of saying something stupid. Insecurity has made you tell people you’re “quiet” as a cover up-as a lame excuse that disguises the real you. Insecurity has made a fool out of you. It’s stolen your life, and it’s held you back.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve placed your security in the hands of other people. When you do that, when you give your security and purpose to another person or people or friends to hold–they drop it every time.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve doubted yourself so much it’s pathetic. Truly sad. You’ve doubted so much the beautiful person God has made you to be. You’ve doubted your potential. You’ve kept dreams hidden too far inside.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve felt yourself so inferior to everyone else. Because you’ve let yourself be held captive by a lie for way too long.

I’ve spent hours telling God I am done with this. Begging forgiveness. Seeking to understanding what it truly is. But I know that it will not be over in an instant. It takes time to heal a heart that has been bruised.

But when those thoughts of self-doubt, inferiority, and fear arise I am standing up and recognizing them for what they are. I’m calling my enemy out, he’s had enough time to mess with me. I’m claiming the truth and promises of God’s Word over my heart. I’m posting sticky notes in places I see them to remind me of this truth.

It may be a battle to overcome this,

I say bring it on. I have the power of Christ in me.

Slowly, little by little, God’s truth will begin to erase those lies I have believed for so long. As I feed my heart and soul with that truth, I pray it fills my spirit, until all of me knows the perfect fullness of resting secure in who I was made to be. Of reaching my fullest potential in Him.

I was made to do hard and holy things. Insecurity will no longer keep me back from living a full life of joy and peace in my Savior. I will listen to His voice, His opinion of me, and His words alone.

Since the night I decided I’d had enough-and the next morning after that spent with Jesus-I have never known so much freedom in my heart. 

It is a beautiful thing.

Next time insecurity calls- I’m not picking up.

I’ve moved on, I’ve had enough, and #IamSECURE

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p.s. this is just part one of me sharing my journey through insecurity. please follow along as I share more of my heart with you in the next few weeks and months, and ways through which I am seeking to overcome it.  Sisters, in the Lord #weareSECURE.

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

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.

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