Identity Crisis - Getting Back to God's Design

For the longest time, I didn't understand why things weren't changing in my life. I had been a Christian since I was 7, went to bible college, married the best guy on the planet and yet I was still struggling with feelings of doubt and insecurity and I just couldn't get a grasp on why. Ever been there?  We do the right things, we say the right things, we've memorized the scripture... but what is going on when you feel like you're fighting with everything
 

For the longest time, I didn't understand why things weren't changing in my life. I had been a Christian since I was 7, went to bible college, married the best guy on the planet and yet I was still struggling with feelings of doubt and insecurity and I just couldn't get a grasp on why. Ever been there? 

We do the right things, we say the right things, we've memorized the scripture... but what is going on when you feel like you're fighting with everything you have and you're not really getting anywhere? Perhaps we don't truly know the key to fighting our battles well. Wouldn't you like to know what it is? 

So many times we try and combat our fears, insecurities and mistakes without truly understanding and embracing our identity as Royal Daughters of God. We think that we have to fight based on our own strength, wisdom and ability. This is why we are constantly falling short and growing weary in the process. We fight, climb and persevere only to be left standing in the same place as before. What's a girl got to do to get some progress made here? 

We simply cannot approach our battles in our own strength. We must stand and fight from our position in Christ. We must combat the enemy with our identity, not our ability. 

Recently I saw the movie Wonder Woman and I was completely blown away by what God decided to show me in her story. I mean, who knew that God would speak to you during a superhero movie? Here are three things that you need to know about who you are that I learned through the story of Wonder Woman... 

1. You reflect the glory of your Father 
Wonder Woman wasn't born special for no apparent reason. She had special abilities because, unknown to her, she was the daughter of Zeus. So her strength came because of who her father was. She could do things others couldn't, had abilities others didn't, and was driven with a purpose that others would never fully understand. 

I have good news for you. You are not the daughter of some mystic greek god, but you are the beloved daughter of the Most High God, the King of Kings and Name above every name. And as His daughter, you were meant to reflect His glory and goodness on this earth and into every life that you encounter. Have you ever wondered about how people feel after being around you for a little while? Do they feel important? like they matter? Or do they feel judged, small or not worth your time? You are an ambassador on this earth to spread true love, joy and peace to hurting and broken hearts. Let's be daughters who represent our Father well and reflect His heart for His people. 

2. You are a target 
As Wonder Woman was leaving the home she had always known to go fight the battle she was born to fight, her mother watches as she sails aways and her mother's sister asks her, "Are you going to tell her?" And her mother replies, "The more she knows, the sooner he will find her." Her mother knew that the closer her daughter came to the truth of whose she was, and the power she possessed because of that, the sooner her enemy would come looking for her. 

The word Christian literally means "anointed one," and when you are marked by God, you are noted by the enemy. Because when your enemy looks at you, he doesn't see what you see. He doesn't see the tired eyes, weary heart and a past riddled with mistakes. Sure he tries to remind you of those but that's only because he sees something in you that threatens him. You don't attack what you aren't threatened by and when he sees you... he sees Jesus. He sees the very same spirit that went down into hell, took the keys of hell and death and eternally sealed his fate. But if he can keep you from seeing what he sees, he can keep you scared and stuck. 

3. You are the weapon 
As Wonder Woman arrives for her final battle with Ares the god of war, she believes all she has to do is stab him with a special sword and he will be defeated. She sticks him easily enough but it doesn't seem to faze him. She then has a revelation of who she is and whose she is that brings her to the conclusion that she is in fact the weapon who can defeat him. Knowing her true identity was the key to her overcoming her enemy for good. 

This is why our enemy fights us so much when it comes to knowing who we truly are. He wants you to find your identity in your mistakes, your past, your relationships, your career, your "good works," your children, your personality, basically anything other than in Christ, because that is where all of your power comes from. 

So you see, before we can stand our ground and fight our battles well, we need to make sure that we have a firm grasp on who we are and who our Father is. It is in this identity that all of our power, confidence, strength and courage lies. We can't fight our enemy without knowing who we are. And often times, the enemy knows who we are long before we wake up and realize who we are. Well it's time for us to rise up as daughters and defend our families, our marriages, our homes, our dreams and our futures with the abilities deposited in us through Christ. 

Don't forget to remember who you are. It just might be the difference between living saved and stuck or on purpose with passion. Let's cling fast to our Father and write these chapters we're living in with purpose and power. 

Fight well,
Jess


Want to dive more into what God says about fighting your battles well?

Check out the Online Bible Study Fight Well and let's go on a journey together to learn the battle strategies of a Royal Daughter. Did I mention it's free? 

 
 

How To Act Confident - Even When You Don't Feel Like It

When I was in 5th grade, I auditioned for the school play. I was the new girl in school and was about as shy and quiet as a little girl could be. No one ever thought that I would try for a role in a production but I was determined. You see, I really didn't think I could sing very well. So when our Chorus class decided to put on a play where the two main characters didn't have any solo singing roles, I was like, "This is my chance!"
 

When I was in 5th grade, I auditioned for the school play. I was the new girl in school and was about as shy and quiet as a little girl could be. No one ever thought that I would try for a role in a production but I was determined. You see, I really didn't think I could sing very well. So when our Chorus class decided to put on a play where the two main characters didn't have any solo singing roles, I was like, "This is my chance!" 

To be honest, I'm not sure why I did it. Sometimes I surprise myself but I wanted that role. It was the role of Latisha, the White House maid who, along with the butler Calvin, would take the audience through the lives of the American Presidents and their wives. 

Audition day came and I was SOOOOOO nervous- like I wanted to cry and go the bathroom at the same time. But here I was waiting my turn to audition in front of the whole class! I got up to everyone's surprise and delivered the lines with so much confidence and flare that I got the part! It's all a blur now but that was one of the most fun experiences of my life! But it didn't stop there. 

I learned that I can be confident, even when I don't feel like it. But boy is that easier to believe when you're dealing with an acting role than with real life. We're told that you shouldn't pretend, you shouldn't lie about how you feel and you certainly shouldn't be two-faced! And I agree. We shouldn't try to be someone we're not. But then the question arises, who are we? 

When we feel insecure, fearful or small, it's easy for us to believe that's who we really are. "Well I'm just shy, I'm quiet, I'm fine being insignificant." But is that really true? Is that what God says about you, His Royal Daughter? You see, who you are is more important than we usually realize. Because everything you think, believe and act upon will be directly linked to who you believe you are. So who are you? What do you think about yourself? Are you important? God sure seems to think so. 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well... How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
— Psalm 139:13-14, 17-18 ESV

What we see when we close our eyes is more important than how we look on the outside. What you behold, you ultimately become. And your Father wants you to allow Him to paint a picture on the inside of you of how He sees you, what your frame, personality, and heart look like to Him. And as you behold this image, you will begin to reflect it on the outside, acting and behaving as the Royal Daughter of God that you were destined to be. 

But how can we begin walking this out? I can tell you from experience that you simply cannot wait to "feel" confident before you begin to act confident. So what's the answer then. Faith. As you begin to see and understand who you truly are- a confident, secure, important and destined Daughter- then you can now act out of your true identity, even when your emotions say something different. 

Too often we want to wait till we feel something to act on it. But this is why we feel so trapped all the time. The longer you put off acting in faith, the longer you will feel stuck and frustrated that you can't seem to break free from old patterns and emotions. It's only when we begin to act on what we see by faith, that our emotions will begin to change and we will begin to see actual transformation and growth in our lives. 

So, let's not just simply have a discussion about this, let's make it happen. Let's make today the day that you decided to accept the role that was your's alone to play. The role of a fierce, beloved and accepted Daughter of God who has a purpose and a destiny to fulfill on this earth. Your mission is so vital, that you cannot afford to be sidetracked by negative emotions or fears that bring you down. You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

Here are 3 easy steps to start making this new vision of yourself a reality. 

1. Take the vision and write it down

Like we talked about earlier, we must know who we truly are if we are going to walk in that identity. Spend some time with just you, your bible and your journal and ask God to show you what He sees when He looks at you. Close you eyes and then write down what you see. What are you wearing? What is your composure? Where are you? Who all is there? What does the room look like? Where is He? What are you doing? How does it look like you feel? Write it all down! 

2. Rebuke the lies 

Thoughts lead to emotions and emotions lead to actions. When a negative thought comes up (or just a thought that is contrary to what God has shown you in your vision) then cast it down as false evidence and replace it with the truth. If the enemy can get you to entertain the negative thoughts in your mind, then they will lead to the emotions that cause you to feel unworthy, unconfident or unimportant. But when you do feel those things, it's not too late. You can treat your emotions just like your thoughts and cast out what God says doesn't belong. You decided what stays and what goes. Defend your heart and defend your mind. 

3. Act on who God says you are 

Now comes the part that seems more difficult. It's not enough to simply cast out the negative if you don't have something to replace it with. We must speak the truth over our lives and then act as though we believe it to be true. The word says in James that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17). Now this doesn't mean we have to "perform," but if we truly believe what we say, then there will be evidence by what we do. And as we act on the truth, we will be convincing our minds and emotions that this indeed is the truth. Overtime your thoughts will reflect this as well as your emotions. But it comes from acting in faith. 

So you see we're not acting, we're not pretending and we're certainly not being two-faced. Being two-faced is acting one way with one person and then acting completely different with another. We are simply realizing who we truly are and then acting out of that identity rather than simply what we think or feel in the moment. After all, our spirits are the only part of us that are perfect. Our souls are still being renewed which means every thought we think or emotion we feel may not be from God. But we have His word as a constant reminder of who we are and our place in this world. Our identity never changes, it's never altered and there's nothing you can do or not do to change your position in His family. 

So go ahead, throw your shoulders back girlfriend! When you feel fearful, insecure, unimportant or replaceable, that is when you need to take on your role, wear that invisible crown and walk as a Daughter worthy of her calling. There may be someone in your life that needs what you have and only you can represent God's heart the way you were uniquely designed to. 

Let's walk forward in confidence and write our stories well :) 

xxo,
J ;) 


Dive deeper into the Word with my Free Bible Reading Plan Drawing Near
and discover the true heart of your Maker. 

Dealing with Self-Doubt

There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy (God). He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The battle against self-doubt is something that every human comes up against at some point in our lives. We all deal with negative thoughts and emotions about ourselves and if most of us were honest, we're much harder on ourselves than anyone else would dare to be. But the reality of living outside of this dismal cycle seems a luxury that others may seem to have but never us. Why is it so hard to just give ourselves a break? 

I believe one reason is that the battle is in your mind. I know this concept sounds simple and unhelpful, but if we truly understood this, we wouldn't so easily succumb to every thought, emotion and lie that tried to weasel it's way into our minds. 

I've heard the saying before, "You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair." Negative thoughts and emotions will come, but it's what we do with those thoughts that matters. Will we think about it, and think about it some more? Maybe it's true? It certainly makes sense looking at my track record.. Maybe I'm thinking it for a reason? 

OF COURSE YOU ARE! The enemy of your soul has no power over you except for what you give over to him in your mind. And he would love nothing more than for you to meditate on those thoughts and emotions for just a little bit longer. The longer you linger there, the harder it seems to shake it off. 

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

What we have to do is to learn to separate those negative thoughts and emotions from who we truly are, from our identity. The Word of God is what tells us who we are at our core. When we spend time in the Word, it cuts off anything that we're believing that isn't truth. It "trims the fat" and separates the lies. When you can start recognizing the thought or emotion as a lie, you can now choose to let it go and replace it with truth. Your not owning it anymore; it doesn't belong to you. 

In one of C. S. Lewis' greatest works The Screwtape Letters, a collection of letters are written to a young demon named Wormwood, all signed the same, "Love your affectionate Uncle, Screwtape."  In it, Lewis brilliantly depicts the perspective of evil, and exposes the tactics of the enemy. 

It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The attacks on your life and in your mind come from the one who sees everything that you could become, and fears you. He will do whatever it takes to keep your mind from realizing what lies within you. When we understand this, negative thoughts and emotions become such trivial things compared to the greater story. After all, you don't attack something that doesn't threaten you. We can truly look at ourselves and say, "Wow, someone must be scared of what I will become." 

Our Newest Little Giaimo + Changing Seasons

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

Isn't this little guy the cutest? Jeff and I had been wanting to adopt a kitten for several months, and as soon as we walked in and saw him, that was it. I think it's pretty obvious to see why. He's tiny and fluffy and has the greatest attitude in history! One minute, he has the be the center of your world but wait... as soon as you start to enjoy his presence a little too much, he decides that it's time to withdraw from you until you deserve another visit. What can I say, he get's me! 

Going into this second month of marriage, all of the hustle from the wedding is finally settling down and, just like the changing seasons, you realize, "Oh crap, everything about my life is so different!" Your name is different, your closet space is different, your grocery list is different, your priorities are different, your money is different... I could go on. However, your grace is different. 

I find that whenever I try to make things happen, when I put everything I have into becoming this idea of what a good wife should be, I always fall short and usually end up very frustrated. This feeling culminated one night for me when I failed to cook a delicious popcorn chicken dinner that I found online. I got out the pan and then boom... sat it down and started to cry. I was exhausted from a full day of work and an alarming lack of sleep. I looked at Jeff and told him how sorry I was for failing as his wife. With shock in his eyes (and perhaps quite a bit of laughter) he told me he didn't want popcorn chicken and we could order Chinese instead. I felt better :) but I wasn't sure how that all escalated so quickly. Feeling like a failure does't really motivate you to do better. It usually just paralyzes you, keeping you from seeing any potential or reason to keep trying. 

But what I have to realize is that I'm not failing at being married... I AM MARRIED! Whether I feel like it or not, I am Jeff's wife and the moment I relax in knowing that, is the same moment my heart starts to feel content with where I'm at. Sure I'm still learning- sometimes the laundry is behind, I forgot paper towels at the store again, and I still DO NOT want to make that popcorn chicken recipe tonight!- But I'm not falling apart over it either. The moments that make up our life are right now and we can't spend them all wishing we were somewhere else or someone else. Life (and marriage) is about the journey and about enjoying the wedding, the new furniture, the new kitten, the new job, the new friends, the new chapter or season that your in. We all fail sometimes, but that doesn't make us failures. It just becomes another chapter in the magnificent tale of the life you choose to live. Don't write it perfect... just write it. 

Stealing Back Your Joy

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
— Romans 15:13 NIV

Joy is not an emotion; it is a fruit and fruit must be cultivated. Joy comes from God, but it only takes affect in our life when we are "trusting in Him." Focusing on the problem, worrying, stressing; this is not trusting in God, but rather in our circumstances. Circumstances only take; they cannot give and they will always trade you your joy for worry, stress, and anxiety. 

In our moments of stress, we can choose what voice we will allow. Will we allow worry and fear to have it's dirty way in our mind, bleeding out into our soul and affecting everything and everyone around us? Or will we truly trust in God, drawing on the endless source of joy found within our spirit? After all, "the joy of the Lord is my strength" Nehemiah 8:10, and only when we are walking in this joy will we have the strength to persevere, walking out every beautiful plan God has for us with a smile. 

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
— Matthew 6:34 MSG

When we revel in worry and anxiety, we are handing over our joy for that moment in life, a moment we will never see again. Joy is a gift from God that has been freely given to our new born-again spirits; however, since we are not always living out of our spirits, we are not always walking in joy. It would be helpful to point out that this is a choice, not a personality type. 

The only person that can steal back your joy is you. It's yours. We need to get a little fierce and decide that we're not going to live our lives stressed out all the time. There's so much in store for you and God's going to need you fully awake and fully armed to walk out everything He has planned. The fruit is already there if we will only pursue it, which is something the enemy will never be able to take away from us. He fears what's on the inside of you and will do whatever it takes to keep you from wanting it, even to the point of giving it away. We need His strength. We need His joy. We need to steal back what was taken. 

...

Speaking of joy... It's officially summer! For one week now :) And speaking of fruit, here's a fabulous healthy Pina Colada Protein Smoothie recipe, perfect right after a workout. Happy Summer! 


PINA COLADA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

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1 Cup Almond or Coconut Milk

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I use Perfect Fit Protein!)

1 Small Frozen Banana

1 Cup Frozen Pineapple

1 Tbsp Shredded Coconut Flakes

Blend and ENJOY! 

 

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