The Struggle to Really Be Good Enough

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Upon hearing that, her accusers slowly left the crowd one at a time, beginning with the oldest to the youngest, with a convicted conscience. Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, ‘Dear woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?’

Looking around, she replied, ‘I see no one, Lord.’

Jesus said, ‘Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.’
— John 8:9-11 TPT

The beautiful words of Jesus never cease to amaze me.

His kindness, his generosity, his goodness, his faithfulness. He meets us right where we are and yet because he loves us so much, he refuses to let us wallow in our mess. Like a good Father, he picks us up, dusts us off and leads us down a much better path, one that will lead to happiness, joy and peace.

But that’s not quite the story that’s painted for us Christians today…

Like Martha in the kitchen, we leave our Sunday services with a conviction that the more we do for God, the more we are accepted by Him. This may feel fine when we’re doing everything we think is good, but once we make a mistake (whether big or small) the overwhelming stress of unworthiness floods our minds and hearts, to the point where we start to disqualify ourselves from the plans and even the love of God.

We have to stop thinking that it’s what we do that determines how God sees us. In fact, it’s the other way around. What you do affects how you see God. When we mess up or go off in sin, it tends to distort our perception of God. The enemy will use your mistakes to paint a blurry image of a distant God, whose ready to scold your every misstep.

This is toxic thinking and it has to stop before it takes you down a road of bitterness and resentfulness.

When I first got married, I was a never ending mess of tangled insecurities, fears and unmet expectations. The longer I wallowed in my fears, the more of a burden I felt I was to God, to my husband and all of my friends, who had to put up with my insecure mood swings and eye glares.

All along I thought I was the victim but in reality, I was doing all of this to myself! The self-defeating thoughts and attitudes were in my mind by my authority. I chose to hold on to them. I chose to accept them and ultimately, I chose to suffer in my insecurities until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I thought to myself, “This isn’t working. I’m miserable. Either I need to change or it’s only going to get worse.”

Falling into insecurity and fear is a tricky thing, because the more time you spend as a prisoner in it’s chambers, the more you start to doubt if you’re worthy of being rescued. The freedom you long for so desperately is the one thing you discredit yourself from every receiving.

Mistakes don’t define you, but they can refine you… but only if you let them.

You weren’t saved because of something good you did or some merit you received, but because of who you put your trust in. The Christian life is a continuous journey of learning to trust on him for everything you need, want and dream about, not because of what you’ve done, but because of whose you are. “Grace” isn’t just a five letter word that got you on the nice list this year. It’s a deep magic that bound your tired soul to God’s everlasting peace and life. You are sealed by His love, bought with His blood and cared for by His faithfulness. Nothing you do will ever change that.

Should we want to do great things on this earth for Him? Of course! But not so that our picture can earn a more prominent spot on His fridge. You do that and your life will be full of stress and worry, never really knowing where you stand.

Don’t put your trust in something as fickle and uncertain as your performance. We all have bad days, seasons, years… God knew we couldn’t do it all on our own. That’s why He came on the scene and established a plan to get us back to Himself.

Like the Pharisees did with the woman caught in the act of adultery, this world will always try and tell you who you are. But if you’ll listen (or read His word) you’ll see someone else on the scene, whispering what He thinks about you. The question is, who are you going to listen to?

One condemns you without offering any solution to help, but the other bends down, lends a hand and gives you the power to live a life bigger than you could ever imagine. Jesus’ words to her are His same words to you, “Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”

This doesn’t mean you won’t EVER sin. We all make mistakes because on this side of eternity, we’ve still got some old ways, thoughts and habits to deal with. He’s not expecting perfection from you. It’s an invitation to a life fully trusting in His ability, and not your own. He’s asking you if you’d like to join Him on the journey ahead, instead of sitting in our mess.

You make mistakes. You are not a mistake.

Stop caging yourself in to what other people have said you can and can’t do and start listening to the one voice that truly matters. Allow Him to untangle you from what’s held you back and start writing the story of your life well.

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Only You Can Replace the Lies

 

Bible Study: Winning the Battle in Your Mind Pt. 2

We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.
— 2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT

The battle that wages war on our minds doesn’t stop with just knowing about what the bible says. There is more than one voice coming against your thought process and your victory lies in being able to identity the lies (like we talked about in the last video), but most importantly, replacing those lies with truth.

Because the only thoughts that can stay, lingering around in your precious mind and heart, are the ones that you allow.

That’s not condemnation, that’s freedom!

You have a choice. We all do. We may not always get to decide what thoughts come through our minds, but we do have a say in which ones get to set up camp, start a bomb-fire and start making s’mores. It’s freedom because we’re not the victims anymore. We’re the ones in control.

Girl, remember to not be so hard on yourself and please cut yourself some slack. We live in a world that basically programs us to live off emotions, feelings and uses your thoughts as a blueprint to your heart. But it’s not true.

You are more than mere feelings, emotions and your thoughts aren’t always your own. Don’t just accept them so easily. Know the truth and then start replacing those lies with something that will bring you hope, truth and encouragement. Because that’s what Jesus came here to do, to give you the power to choose Him over everything else.

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Continue the battle and you will win. It’s already a guarantee :)

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For the Girl Who Graduated...

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Graduating is such an exciting time. New seasons, new possibilities and the future is open and bright. The only problem with this is that life seldom meets our bright-eyed and inexperienced expectations and in turn, can cause huge disappointments, frustrations and sometimes, even a loss of hope that things will ever turn out great.

But life is so much more than unmet and unrealistic expectations. It’s a journey with twists and turns, ups and downs, mountains and valleys, and ultimately, a destination. It’s packed with lessons, problems and achievements you never thought were possible. It will lead you down unknown territory and bring you out on the other side a more confident, powerful and impactful person. That is, if you allow it to do so…

So whether you’ve just graduated from high school, college or an internship and are getting ready to head out into the big, bad world, or you’re entering a new season of life and are ready to see something grand happen, then I want to write this to you…

Don’t be in a hurry, the right man will come at last.
— Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice
  • Ladies, don’t worry. He’s out there! The love you’ve always wanted will find you when you keep your heart set on God. Allow Him to mold you into a woman ready for it.

  • But once he does find you, give your Prince a break! He’s dealing with just as much insecurity and fear as you. Fill in his weaknesses, don’t point them out.

  • On the road to marriage there will be many a suitors who will find you. Don’t let your relationships define you. You are worth more than how people treat you.

  • Guys are just as emotional as women! FOR REAL!

  • Never be afraid to be yourself. If it’s not what he wants, it’s not worth your time.

  • Don’t be so quick to give your heart away. It’s far more valuable than a dinner and a movie.

  • NEVER feel like you ever owe your body to someone who hasn’t vowed his fully over to you.

  • It’s okay to cry.

  • It’s okay to move on.

  • You need someone who challenges you. Don’t settle for fluff.

  • Wait for a guy whose dreams you can chase, and who wants to chase your dreams too.

  • Don’t be afraid of someone who is different than you. How boring would it be to be married to YOU!

  • Learn to cook… and fast!

  • PLEASE budget your money! It will save you so much trouble down the road.

  • Always be generous with your time. People will need you to just be there.

  • Girl friendships are hard! It’ll be okay…

You must give up the life you planned in order to live the life that is waiting for you.
— Joseph Campbell
  • Don’t be afraid to dream big. It’s going to take you to places you could never imagine.

  • I know you think you have your 5 and 10 year plan, but if you take a chance on God, He will exceed your plans. Trust me, He’s WAY more creative than you are.

  • This world is so much bigger than your small town. Go see it!

  • No matter the culture, language or age, people all want to feel valued. You can give that to them.

  • The bible will keep you centered. Read it like you mean it!

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re going to fall down a lot. But always remember to get back up, learn and move forward.

  • Give grace to others who fall down.

  • Try your best not to judge. It leaves something icky inside you.

  • People are all trying to find happiness. Don’t be in a hurry to assume intentions.

  • Every single person in this life, at some point, will let you down, because people are imperfect. Find value in God. He’s got you covered.

  • Don’t be so quick to think you’re over your insecurity issue. It starts to flare up once you get married.

  • Give grace to yourself first. If you won’t give it to you, you won’t give it to others.

  • Never think you know everything. Learning is a part of growing and the moment you stop learning, you stop growing. Don’t be a baby.

  • Always have faith. It’s the power to bring what you hope for into your reality.

  • Share your gifts with others. You will sow into your future.

  • Not every opportunity is from God. Don’t be in such a hurry to make big decisions.

  • Stay humble. It opens doors.

  • You’re not always wrong.

  • You’re not always right.

  • Too much word and you dry up. Too much spirit and your blow up. Put them together and you grow up. Live in balance.

Life’s what you make it. So let’s make it rock!
— Hannah Montana
  • Live loud. You’ll get easily distracted if you don’t.

  • Don’t read between the lines. People usually aren’t that deep.

  • The mountains are always a wonderful place to go and talk to God, but remember He doesn’t live there. He lives in you.

  • Be fierce in your convictions but quick to admit fault.

  • There’s a LOT you can learn from people who disagree with you, whether it’s to point out something new or to help you understand why you believe in something.

  • You can’t put God in a box. So He did it for you. It’s called the bible. Read it and don’t get weird.

  • Don’t debate with people to make your voice be heard. Dig out what’s going on in people’s hearts and then value what you find.

  • You’ll NEVER guess the ending to Gossip Girl!

  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t find love in a hopeless place. You find mistakes. Tread lightly.

  • But never let a mistake become a part of who you are. Instead, lend a helping hand to freedom for someone else.

  • There is nothing the devil can do to you without your cooperation. His threat is real but his power is weak. Don’t fear him.

  • Your dreams will help people you’ll never meet. Don’t pursue them for recognition.

  • Sometimes you won’t get treated fairly. Your promotion comes from God. Wait for it.

  • Voices will tell you you’re the only one who struggles with “blank.” It’s NEVER true.

  • Sometimes counterfeit opportunities come right before the God ones do.

  • It usually feels suckiest right before an exciting season.

  • Every chapter in the story of your life can lend itself to the bigger picture. Don’t get distracted by what lies ahead. Keep your focus on writing this season well.

I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.
— Philippians 3:13-16 TPT

There’s no need to fear the unknown when you’re walking hand in hand with the Creator. He knows what lies ahead and He’ll lead you, not with a 20-step plan to total fulfillment, but with a one-step-at-a-time drawing that will lead you on the greatest journey you will ever know.

There’s a life that is waiting for you. Now here’s to the journey!

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How Well Do You Know His Truth?

 

Bible Study: Winning the Battle in Your Mind Pt. 1

Do you ever feel like your thoughts and emotions are in control of your life? You know how to act but then those pesky thoughts come and start bubbling up those darn emotions and then suddenly you look at yourself and go, “Who is that crazy person?”

You’re not crazy and you’re not alone! We all have to deal with what goes on in our heads but we don’t have to deal with it in our own strength.

If you’ve been wanting to see changes in your thought life, your emotions or your overall joy and peace, then this is the first and most vital step to getting you there.

Enter the 3 Keys to Winning the Battle in Your Mind Mini Challenge!

The first key to not just surviving but actually winning those everyday battles going on in your mind and heart, is to get so familiar with His truth, that when anything contrary starts rising up on the inside of you, it’s easier to recognize it and your soul will have the opportunity to start lining up with life.

For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.
— John 8:32 TPT

Notice that we have to embrace truth. It doesn’t just automatically happen because we’re Christians or we mean well. It’s an intentional act by us to cling to His truth rather than to our thoughts or emotions. Because those things are not only temporary, but generally untrue and unreliable. If we want to live overcoming, powerful and impactful lives, then we can’t be so easily swayed by every thought and whim of emotion. We muse become stable. We must secure our hearts on His truth.

Check out part one of the new Summer Mini Series and let’s start becoming secure women of truth!

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Is Modesty Meant for Modern Girls?

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Be a girl with a mind, a woman with attitude and a lady with class.
— Anonymous

It’s a tricky line to walk.

On one hand, we all, deep down perhaps, want to be a lady, or at least know we should. Sure we can be dramatic, emotional and a bit silly but at the end of the day, those inspiring quotes we post on our bathroom mirrors in blushing pink lipstick point to the serious, sophisticated and womanly way we wish to see ourselves.

We praise girls in the church who seem strong and feminine and criticize and judge the ones who’s hem line is a bit too short. We laugh at the ones who’s outfit reminds us of that amish movie we saw on Netflix and secretly hate the girl who’s outfit is everything we want to be and more… but would never wear!

Does anyone have any earthly idea what we Christian gals are supposed to be striving for when it comes to modesty? Do we have any thought whatsoever what the word “modesty” even means in our modern world? Is it even a word we should apply to ourselves because come on, we’re not in bible times anymore, right?

How do we walk this delicate tightrope between holy and hot? What’s a girl to do when she get’s dressed in the morning and wants to look attractive but not a bimbo… do we still say that? And is it wrong for a godly gal to even WANT to look good? Where’s the dang guide book on this thing!

I believe the first place to start is in debunking the myth that modesty is strictly about the clothes you wear. For it starts far from anything you put on.

Think about it, everything in the Christian life is about transformation from the inside out. The Jews were full of laws, do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs. They were plagued by a list of rules and regulations that when Jesus came to teach them a new way to live, they kept reverting back to what they DO, when Jesus was speaking to who they WERE.

Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times? Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!
— Matthew 18:21-22 TPT

I know what you’re thinking… What the heck does forgiveness have to do with how I dress? I know, just give me a sec.

Peter thought he was going to impress Jesus by how much he was willing to forgive (an action) someone who had wronged him… seven times. Jesus was like, “Peter, come on now. You’re missing the point. There should be no end to how often you extend forgiveness to someone because it is no longer an action you must take but it will be an overflow of your identity in me.”

Everyone kept pointing to what they must do and Jesus kept pointing them back to such a high standard, it would take someone with beyond human abilities to be able to live like that. Enter, the Holy Spirit.

When you became a Christian, you didn’t just enter a club that has it’s set of rules (like in those really strict Facebook groups) about what you can and cannot do, and you are now bound to an endless life of frustration between what you really want to do and what a good Christian girl “should” do.

NO!

You were changed from the inside. Your old spirit was done away with and you were given a new spirit identical to Jesus. Yes, you are identical to Jesus… in your spirit. It’s our souls we’re workin’ on. So wouldn’t it make more sense to assume that modesty (like everything in this life) begins at a heart level and works it’s way out into how we dress, act and treat others?

It doesn’t take a skimpy outfit for a girl to be dripping with lust in her heart. A girl who’s heart is set on God while lying in a bikini on the beach, can be more modest than that girl in the maxi dress who’s heart is full of lust. Yes I said it… LUST! It’s not a dirty word but it dirties our souls. It keeps the life of God from flowing through us and hinders our growth, joy and peace.

So before we get dressed (or after, I don’t care) let’s take a quick heart check. Because if Christianity is all about the inside flowing out, then we might want to make sure our insides are lining up with what we want reflected on the outside.

If we want to live lives that represent God and become women of strength, dignity and power, then we must begin to look at what’s going on in our hearts. Because there will never be a set of rules for what clothes you should and shouldn’t wear (I think we can use a bit of common sense here too!). You weren’t called out of darkness and into His marvelous rules, but into his light. Become so familiar with it that it starts to shine out of you in everything you do, including your clothing choices.

The more time you spend in His presence, the more your soul will be conformed into His image and the more wisdom, maturity and understanding you’ll have to make the right decisions at the right time.

I’m NOT saying clothes don’t matter. But I believe the solution isn’t found in the closet, but rather in the journey our hearts are on. Spend more time focusing on what’s going on there and you’ll arrive at the place you want to be… beautiful, powerful, and inspiring other girls there’s a better way, too.

Write your story well… and hey, look good while doing it ;)

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