and somehow, we find acceptance

rejection is an acceptance.

an acceptance into who you were meant to be.

an invitation to step into the embodiment of the space you were created to fill.

an ushering in of something beautiful.

2-26-7I promise you this:

you can leverage pain into passion.

you can leverage loneliness into love.

you can leverage rejection into acceptance,

if you make a choice.

I know it’s hard to see it now. I know you don’t understand where He has you. I know their words-or lack of-hurt.

I don’t know how you feel. I’ve never walked a day in your shoes.

but I see your pain. we have to acknowledge it. we have to own it as our own.

and tonight-

this short word is for all of us, because it finds us all at one time or another:

you are not labeled by rejection. you are invited into the arms of a God of acceptance.

a life without rejection is a life without acceptance. you cannot have one without the other. you cannot know the height of one without the depth of the other. you cannot know the fullness of your God if you haven’t tasted the emptiness of everything else. & that is juts what rejection shows us.

if everything worked out, you would never know what was right for you.

don’t minimize your pain.

if you need to cry tonight, cry.

if your dreams are shattering tonight, cry.

if he walked away, cry.

if a friendship is broken, cry.

if they said no and your heart was set on yes, cry.

but wake up and know in your heart that this is the ushering in of your purpose–of who you were made to be.

and somehow, when the world tells us we should stay in the depths of rejection, we find the strength to reach for acceptance.

because acceptance has a name. and it’s name is Jesus.

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.

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.

 

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

how to study the Bible for yourself: my quiet time routine

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Since I have started my blog, the single most asked question I get through Instagram or email is “how do you study the Bible?” So here it is. It’s nothing fancy or extravagant. I’ll share with you some of the tools I use and others I find helpful.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

First-let’s get real. Life gets busy and sometimes quiet time can tend to slide to the back burner. I have found, however, that when I schedule my day around my time with The Lord, no matter how busy I may be, instead of scheduling my time with the Lord around my day, I find myself refreshed, renewed, and strengthened. Let’s also be real about what it all looks like. My quiet time isn’t typically perfectly pictured with coffee and a journal and the lighting looking just right. No, most mornings I’m in my closet with verses taped on the walls studying in there with absolutely nothing to distract me because I’m like a little kid-if I don’t eliminate every distraction I don’t get anywhere. Pretty Instagram and blog pictures are great and all but the real stuff looks a little different.

All I can accomplish in one day doesn’t compare to time spent with my King, because it’s in that time that I find the strength to live each day. He’s the one who has given every breath, and I have found that giving back the first part of my day draws me closer to Him and sets my heart straight. Your mind might be more focused at night, or in the middle of the day, find the time where you can give The Lord as much of your attention and focus and energy as possible-bring Him the best part of your day. It’s not a chore-it’s an incredible privilege. When you start to see it as the best part of your day, His Word comes alive in new ways.

This world isn’t easy on you and it isn’t easy to get through a single day without being distracted about 500 times. So fix it in your mind that no matter how small the amount of time may be, spend it with Him. It may be five minutes, or fifty, but it all matters. Don’t let your enemy convince you that because you can’t sit down and spend an hour in the Word, you shouldn’t spend ten minutes. Quality matters over quantity. There isn’t a time of day that’s “right.” There isn’t an exact plan that is universal and should always be followed. But there is room for grace, and God sees our small little attempts to get to know Him and blesses them. Come running to Him every. single. day. Even if it’s a childlike crawling to His feet for a few minutes-don’t let one day pass that you don’t come to Him to find the sustaining power you need.

So join me today as I walk you through what my mornings look like. Yours may be entirely different-and that’s ok-we’re pressing on to know the same King, but our journeys will look different.

The first thing I do when I open the Word to study is pray. Typically my Bible study in the morning involves praying through the Word. I’ve found for me that I need to audibly “preach” to myself in the mornings–that’s why I spend them in my closet. It has to be just me and the Lord so I can talk to Him out loud. You might find you write your prayers better, or that the quiet front porch where you can just be silent is the spot for you. Find that spot. Find what works–and then pursue Him like crazy.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

I learned a little acronym from one of John Piper’s book, “IOUS,” that has stuck with me and I usually find myself praying through it as I begin to open the Word.

I-Incline my heart to long for you, Lord. Give me a desire to know you more and to make your name known.

O-Open. Lord God open my eyes to behold your Word! Open my eyes to see new things and to learn new truths.

U-Unite. Unite my heart to fear your name. Join my mind to my body so that I would live out the Word that I study today.

S-Satisfy. Oh Lord satisfy my heart in you alone! Not in anything this world has to offer, but in your truth and by your Holy Spirit, through your Word today.

Then I read through a passage and typically go verse by verse. Lately I’ve been studying Hosea using a study by Kristin Schmucker. What I love about this study is that it offers some commentary while also allowing you to soak up the Word and study it for yourself. In a passage I’m going through, I’ll typically pick a few verses that stand out to me and write them in my “Be Still” journal-another great tool from Kristin Schmucker. I’ll go through those few verses and paraphrase what the author is saying and how the Holy Spirit is speaking through them.

Next I’ll look up cross references for these passages. Often times this leads me to many other verses that are related. If you don’t have a study Bible a concordance is also great for this. Ask yourself questions about the setting of the passage. Look for and pick out similarities between the people in the story and yourself. Identify with them. Don’t rush through it. Soak it in. Put yourself in their shoes and walk through the journey with them. Then ask the Lord how he would have you apply this to your life.

Don’t end your time with Him without learning one thing you can carry with you through the day.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

It’s not fancy. It’s just a verse-by-verse walk through, writing down things that stick out to me and truths I want to press into my heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and rely on Him. I truly believe He meets our weakness in an incredibly unique way when we open the Word.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I usually finish out my time with The Lord in prayer. Sometimes I’ll also pick a Bible verse from my study to memorize using this cool memory trick. One of the greatest resources I’ve found for constructing a powerful prayer strategy is the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. If you haven’t read it-you should! {Also read this if you’re looking for some book suggestions}

love & grace,

M

5 life changing books

  1. 1. Love Does by Bob Goff

bookreview

This book will shake you from the first pages. It’s one of those books where once you finish, you just want to start it again. Goff opens your eyes to see how God calls us to live out our faith in love. His faith will inspire you and completely change the way you look at love. Love does, it doesn’t just talk-or as Goff says, “love is never stationary.” This book will make you want to adventure outside of your comfort zone and take risks in the name of love. I dare you not to be changed after reading it, and I dare you not to want to read it again.

Favorite Quotes from Love Does

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

“Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”

“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”

purchase here

2. Don’t Waste your Life by John Piper

I can’t say enough about how this book will give you an entirely renewed perspective on what really matters and the urgency of living for God alone. It will root in you a healthy fear of wasting your life. Piper offers an alternative to spending our days for selfish gain, and shares his own story of seeking to treasure Christ. His faith will encourage you in your own walk, and remind you that there is so much more to life than what this world offers.

Favorite quotes from Don’t Waste your Life:

“God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.”

“Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.”

purchase here or enter to win this book by heading over to my instagram (giveaway rules will be posted Wednesday, July 27th at 6pm EST)!

 3. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

bethmoore

Wow, so many emotions come back when just writing about this book. As cliche as it sounds, this book of all books changed my life. I’m not really sure when and where the fear crept in, but I lived most of my life paralyzed by what other people thought of me, and wallowing in the lie that I was not enough. I might not have admitted it, but I had convinced my heart I was inferior, and didn’t have what it takes. Beth Moore’s words painfully pried that fear out of me. First, my eyes were opened to see that insecurity was in fact what I was struggling with. Then the book guided me through those feelings and bringing them to the foot of the cross. I still struggle with insecurity, but now I call it out and identify believing it as sin. A truly incredible read everyone should read.

Favorite Quotes from So Long Insecurity:

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”

“Be careful who you covet. Be careful how you judge. Be slow to size somebody up and think you know all about her type. She’s not so different than you. Nobody’s unbreakable here on this planet. Only the dead don’t bleed when they’re cut.”

purchase here

4. Fervent by Priscilla Shirer 

fervent

Talk about altering your view of prayer! This book is powerful stuff. Priscilla dives into 10 different areas where we face attacks from our enemy and encourages you to develop prayer strategies to combat these attacks. The book comes with prayer cards you can fill out and write your strategies on. Our enemy might be disarmed, but he’s still pretty smart. Unless we are constantly going to war in our prayer life, we will continue struggle with an onslaught of his attacks. This book reminded me of the power of prayer and gave me practical advice for ways to implement a prayer strategy.

Favorite quotes from Fervent:

“We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.”

“At the end of the day, the enemy is going to be sorry he ever messed with you. You’re about to become his worst nightmare a million times over. He thought he could wear you down, sure that after a while you’d give up without much of a fight. Well, just wait till he encounters the fight of God’s Spirit in you. Because . . . This. Means. War.”

purchase here

5. Pracitcal Religion by J.C. Ryle

I don’t know what really inspired my 15 year old self to open up a deeply theological book, but I know it changed me. This book showed me the urgency of living out the Gospel. It instilled in me a healthy fear of the bleakness of eternity without God. It made me weep for the hearts who don’t know my King. It’s a powerful book that takes some work and time to read through, but it’s worth it. It might have been written in a different century, it might be “old-school”, but it’s a beautifully challenging book.

Favorite quotes from Practical Religion

“Evening is the time which the higher classes choose for dancing, card playing, and the like; and consequently never get to bed till late at night. If we love our souls, and would not become worldly, let us mind how we spend our evenings. Tell me how a man spends his evenings, and I can generally tell what his character is.”

“Tell me what a man does in the matter of Bible-reading and praying, in the matter of Sunday, public worship, and the Lord’s Supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling.”

“Faith is to prayer what the feather is to the arrow: without it prayer will not hit the mark.”

purchase here

These are five of my favorites. I’m always looking for new reads so leave yours in the comments!

how Jesus offers more than your lesser loves

We’re all running around in circles chasing these silly little pursuits and I can imagine God just shaking His head and laughing a little. Laughing at how slow it takes us to learn. Chuckling a little at our stubborn hearts that think they know best.

blogpost.7.13

He knows our hearts are so prone to wander into lukewarm faith and watered-down desires. He knows we get so easily fooled into thinking the world will deliver on its promises, and He knows there is more for us.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Our incredible God-He knows what He made us for. He made us to chase Him with every fiber of our being, drawing in the lost by the beautiful display of the Gospel that our lives become.

& yet we would rather chase boys, applause, and attention. We would rather chase acceptance, approval, and praise. We would rather chase money, position, and a career.

Our God knows all this.

He knows that the American lie has convinced us that we can have both Jesus and the world.

That we can live on the fence and we’ll be satisfied.

That we can wrap up all our worth in man’s approval and yet experience the full joy of the Lord.

That we can walk with the foolish and somehow become wise.

That we can serve both God and money.

He knows all these lies we’ve been fed and let ourselves believe.

Yes, He knows all of this. The struggles of our hearts in toying with the things of the world. The silly little pleasures we run after. He knows the time we’ve wasted on things that pull us away from Him, and in His perfect goodness He offers to us a beautiful promise that He delivers on.

If we would take time in our days to spend at the feet of Jesus-maybe we’d hear Him whisper

“My daughter, I have something better for you. Something greater than all you see right now.”

I think He wants us to remember that there is a whole lot more than what we see. That His glorious purpose for the world involves you, but it does not revolve around you.

We need to spend time with our God not necessarily so that He can show us what the big picture is-but so that we can simply be reminded that there is one.

That there is more, greater, deeper hope than all this world has to offer. That our time here on this earth is very small compared to eternity, but incredibly important in light of eternity.

That there is more than just me. There is more than my little world and what I want, there is a hurting, dying, world out there in desperate need of a word of grace. There are hearts looking for an answer.

This life is so much bigger than what I want.

It is so much bigger than simply my dreams-there are God sized dreams just waiting to be unfurled if I would lay my own down. All those desires we have, all those things we are chasing, it’s not too much. It’s too little. We need to lift our hearts higher and chase what really matters.

Let’s chase the One we were made to live for and glorify and reflect.

Your desires for “more”-that emptiness you feel when you chase the world-all that is pointing to something greater. So chase Him. Lay down your pursuits for joy in the things of the world and put all your stock in Christ. There is an abundance of joy, peace, and perfect contentment He is waiting to pour out if we would come.

Come, chase Christ with me. Let’s forget the lesser loves.