Faith

 
 

More Than Meets the Eye

If I live with my eyes focused on the past, I’m walking in the direction I came from. If I live with my eyes focused on the present, I’m tripping over my own feet. If I live with my eyes focused on the future, I don’t see what is in front of me and I stumble. Most of the time, I live in the present. My whole generation has made that their motto. But spiritually, it’s no way to live. When I live in the present, I see more of what God is doing, but I’m not involved in it. I would see what is coming, and I would know to be prepared  if only I would look up. But I don’t. So I miss opportunities. I’m not obedient. Too often, when God asks me to “set my mind on things above”, I shift my gaze upward…and look at the future. But the future stretches beyond me. Not above me. Granted, I’m no longer staring at the ground. But when I focus on the future, I miss what God wants to do in my life right now. I choose not to hear his gentle voice teaching me along the way. I use my dreams as rough estimates for the path God wants me to take. And friend, that’s no way to live.

When God commands us to “set our mind on things above”, He isn’t asking us to direct our gaze to the past, the present, or the future. He’s asking us to look at Him. That’s the only way we will ever be able to see Him working in the present, yet be prepared for what He wants to do in the future. That’s the only way we can let go of the mistakes of the past, and follow Him in freedom. That’s the only way we remain teachable and the only way we can be completely certain that we are walking in the will of God. I wake up every morning with my eyes cast down to my toes as I plant my feet on the floor. I wake up with my mind ready to live in the present. If I don’t make and take the time to meet with God, and to seek His face, I’ll walk out the door with my eyes still focused on my feet. And when I step back through that door at the end of the day, I’ll wonder where the day went. I’ll wonder if I really made a difference. I’ll wonder if there was more I could have done for the Kingdom. And the difficult truth is I could have done more. But my mind was fixed on me. It was set in the present. It was staring at what was in front of me. I chose not to seek Him first. I never consulted with Him about what He wanted to accomplish that day.  And so I did what I wanted, and I missed the chance to be doing what He wanted. It’s the same for each of us who set our mind on the world instead of on Him.

Do you take the time to hear what is on God’s heart? Each day we wake up, we are alive for purpose and that is to glorify Him. There is something He wants to accomplish in you and something He wants to accomplish through you every day. Have you asked Him what that is?  Do you want to know? I understand. It’s hard to fix our minds on things above. It takes a lot of faith. It requires that we stop trying to straining our eyes to see something in the darkness of future and completely surrender our future to Him. No matter where He may lead us. We must let go of living in the present and believe that God offers a life that is more abundant than one the world around us promises. We must face our past, and determine that it will no longer define us. Following Jesus takes a lot of faith. Especially when we can’t see where we’re going. But “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. It’s not based on sight. It’s based on Him.

I want to challenge you today to deliberately and intentionally choose to focus on Jesus. The world can be chaotic. It often clamors for our attention. But is reliving the past worth never experiencing true freedom? Is walking in the present worth making decisions we’ll regret? Is staring at the future worth the awful sinking feeling that you missed something important? Is the gazing at the world around you worth never experiencing the fullness of what God has in store for you? Your actions will reveal what you truly believe. 

“So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.

Colossians 3:1-2 (HCSB)

Categories: direction, Faith, God, learning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Learning Faith the Heart Way

There is a point in the life of every believer when doubt inevitably creeps in and makes us question the promises of God. I can name quite a few times in my own life when I chose not to believe in His promises. Maybe it was because I didn’t want God to fail me. I wanted something to fall back on in case He fell through. The ability to say “He didn’t really mean that” or “I must have misunderstood him” was a sort of spiritual insurance. In better terms, my “spiritual insurance” was a complete lack of faith and a skewed understanding of the very nature of God, and it was caused by deeply rooted fear in my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”.

Our hearts are prone to doubt, to fear, to wickedness, and to darkness. We know this, and yet we still allow ourselves to be controlled by our heart. We even allow our faith to be controlled by our heart. This manifests itself in many different ways. I’ve mentioned a couple already- doubt and fear, but we also see it through comparison and emotion. You’ve probably experienced all of these in some way. We doubt our salvation or the promises of God. We are afraid to completely surrender everything to God, to follow wherever He leads, or to stake our entire lives on a God we can’t visibly see. We compare our walk with Christ to that of other believers, and rate our spiritual maturity or effectiveness in ministry on how we measure up to someone else. And finally, we base our worship, Bible Study, spiritual strength, or even our salvation on how we feel.

It’s clear our hearts have a lot of influence, and it’s not positive influence either. So how do we change this? What needs to happen? Let’s take a look at 1 John 3:19-20. It says, “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 

“Set our hearts at rest in His presence…” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who talked so much you couldn’t even comment on what they had to say? I think we come to God like that sometimes. When are hearts aren’t at rest, they are babbling on and on. They are consumed with fear, with doubt, with emotion and focused solely on those things. I wonder if we miss some important things that He wants to say to us when we refuse to quiet our hearts as we come into his presence. We drown out his voice with our worries, instead of resting in Him, instead of trusting that He is in control.

“If our hearts condemn us…” Essentially, this occurs when we believe the lies of the enemy. This is the moment when we come before God doubting our salvation. When we hear that voice saying that we are eternally condemned, even if we are truly saved!

“We know that God is greater than our hearts…” What a wonderful reminder! As powerful and influential as our hearts can seem, they are no match for God. We can set our hearts at rest because we know that he is not only above our hearts, but He is above our thoughts, our circumstances, our lives, and our world.

“And He knows everything…” As it talks about in the beginning of 1 John, God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When he sees our hearts, He sees everything! Too often we imagine deep dark places in our hearts, but there is no such thing. Turn the light on, see your heart as He sees your heart- sin and all. He knows all of you, and He still died for you! He also knows the truth about our salvation. He is truth, and He will reveal the truth to you as you seek after Him.

We must turn our eyes away from our hearts that so desperately want attention and instead fix them upon Jesus. We must come before Him with a heart that is at rest and is ready and willing to hear His voice. We must remind ourselves that He is greater than our hearts and he knows all. That is how we change the influence of our hearts. This is what needs to happen in order to begin to have the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Categories: Bible, comparision, Faith, God, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
 
 

A Recap of 2016 and a Preview of 2017: A Testimony of the Faithfulness of God

I’ll be honest, I’m not the type of person to make a New Year’s Resolution list. Usually, with some prodding from my Mom, I churn out 3 to 5 vague goals I hope to accomplish in the future. I’m 99% sure my resolutions for the year 2016 were something along the lines of:

  1. Start running
  2. Lose weight
  3. Be healthier
  4. Love Jesus more
  5. Read my Bible everyday

I had noble ambitions, to be sure. Awfully shallow, noble ambitions. What is it about goal-setting that I never fully embrace? Maybe I feel it infringes upon my go-with-the-flow attitude. I just want to LIVE another year of my life. I want to make a difference. I want to be able to look back and I know that I spent my time wisely, and I furthered the kingdom of God. I want to have memories to hold onto forever, both good ones and bad ones. I want to soak up every moment. To make every breath count for something. To live a life filled with purpose and inspiration. To seize every opportunity to be grateful, to laugh, to find a new friend, to revel in the vivid colors of a sunset, to watch the sunlight through the trees, to hear the echo of bird calls over the mountains, to be captivated by emotion, to be changed by conversations. I want more than just goals. Just things to work towards. I want to live a life of more. Never just going through the motions, never just trying to make it through another day. I want my years to be characterized by abiding in Christ, and allowing him to make my life worth something more. Greater than just the ordinary. Bigger than mundane. Every second of every day, I want to hold tightly to the promise that God has a plan for my life, a plan to prosper and not to harm, a plan to give me hope and a future. If He is for me, who can be against me?

Though my resolutions for 2016 might have been shallow, God still managed to accomplish amazing things through me this year. I’ve been reminded time and time again of His unfailing grace and His thoughts that are higher and deeper than mine could ever be. He took this humorously weak list, and did something incredible. It mirrors what He did in my life this past year. He took me, humorously weak, and used my life to do something incredible. Something that can only be explained by God. He deserves all of the glory.

I actually did start running this year. I made it through about 3 weeks of running at the beginning of January before I injured both hamstrings and had to stop. As the summer progressed, my goal became to run a mile. In all of my life, I’ve never run a mile without stopping. But summer is a difficult time to run in South Georgia, and I stopped just short of finishing half a mile without stopping.

I started college at the University of North Georgia in the Fall, and after realizing I had to hike to my dorm every day, set out to reverse the common phrase “Freshman 15”. I went to the gym, but that lasted about a week before my time table was filled with more important matters. I went back intermittently during the semester, and I tried to eat in a somewhat healthy manner, but I wasn’t sure how much difference it would really make. I could feel myself losing weight, but with no scale, I wasn’t sure how I was actually progressing. When I finally made it back home for Christmas break and stepped on the scale, I was shocked. I had lost 12 lbs. total. But God had something even better in mind. On December 23, 2016, I completed my first full mile run.

Losing weight and exercising has been on my resolutions list for close to 4 or 5 years now. It was something I could never seem to do. In fact, I only seemed to gain weight. The summer of Sophomore year of high school, I weighed over 150 lbs. This made it nearly impossible for me to run without causing severe pain to my feet. It was a Catch-22. I couldn’t lose weight to exercise and I couldn’t exercise to lose weight. January of 2016 it finally dawned on me. I was exercising and counting calories and staring at the numbers on the scale because I was insecure. Because I wanted to impress other people. Everything I did, I did out of a feeling of inferiority and a growing desire to be accepted. It never got me anywhere. For a while, I tried to tell myself I was doing it because it was the right thing to do. Because my body is a temple, and I need to glorify God. That’s true, but even though I knew it was true, I didn’t live like I believed it was true. Until this year. This year, from the very first moment my brand new running shoes hit the asphalt, I surrendered my journey to God. It was difficult. But it was worth it. There were times I thought about giving up, times I did give up. But God never gave up on me. And I am a living testimony of how powerful the God I serve is. He broke down the lies I believed about myself. I learned on a deeper level that the way I look to God matters so much more than the way I look to anyone else. He used the painful process of getting the most un-athletic, out of shape girl to exercise as a metaphor for my spiritual life. As I grew in physical strength, I saw how he was growing me in spiritual strength as well. It was hard. As with running, there were times I wanted to give up, and times I did give up. But He never gave up on me. He remained faithful. He remains faithful.

I’d love to say I read my Bible every day this year, but that’s not true. A majority of the days this year, I did pick up my Bible and read, but not every day. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I came to love Jesus more this year than I did the last. I faced a lot of new challenges to my faith. Things I was forced to trust God with. It was somewhat painful to realize that the things I thought I had entrusted to God; I had really kept to myself. But that’s what real worship is all about, surrendering everything you have to God. Even when it’s hard. Even when you’d prefer to hang on to some dreams. But I learned that I must die to those dreams. I must sacrifice them on the altar and present them as an offering to God and believe that God is good. If those dreams are meant to be resurrected, they will be. If not, God has something unbelievably better in mind, and who I am to choose something I may think is good over the very best that God has for me. He knows me better than I know myself.

This year, I’ve decided to make real resolutions. Yes, I want to lose weight. Yes, I want to be healthier. I’ve still got a ways to go. But I know that I am able to honor God because He gives me the strength to fight temptation and to continue pressing on, even when I may be weak. I’ve been reminded of his steadfast love and continual faithfulness this year, and I know that this will be present every day of my life. He will still be faithful to me.

So, without further ado, I present 17 New Year’s Resolutions for the year 2017!

  1. Love Jesus more than I did the day before.
  2. Be motivated by love for Jesus, not obligation or a desire to impress others.
  3. Worship God.
  4. Make time for Bible Study and fight to keep that time, amid the pressures of life. Look forward to hearing what He has to say.
  5. Cultivate a spirit of peace, joy, and contentment- in ALL circumstances.
  6. Remain confident of God’s love and provision, even during difficult times.
  7. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  8. Follow His leading, no matter where He leads.
  9. Give every problem and crisis to Him and trust that everything will work out for my good and his glory.
  10. Focus on building the kingdom of God, not my kingdom. See the eternal, not the finite. Invest in what is everlasting, not in what is perishable. This includes investing my time. Be a good steward of the time I have been given.
  11. Spread the Gospel!
  12. Make lifestyle choices that honor God, and stick to them, even when it gets hard.
  13. Continue running the race that has been set out before me, both physically and spiritually. Find my strength in Christ alone.
  14. Become a prayer warrior and fight for the Body of Christ.
  15. Encourage and challenge others in their walk with Christ.
  16. Learn how to be a better leader.
  17. Choose faith over fear.

I am confident that the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in 2017. Here’s to the future, full of confidence knowing that the one who walks beside me has already been there before me. I’ll see you next year! 🙂

-Mackenzie

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Faith, God, life, New Year | 3 Comments
 
 

Learning the Definition of Rest

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about rest.

What does it mean to rest? It means to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. But rest also means to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

I’ve been praying for rest, but I neglected to appreciate the rest he’s given because I was focused on only one definition of rest. And it wasn’t the definition He had in mind. When I thought of rest, I thought of sleep. Of relaxation. I fervently prayed for rest during late nights of homework, hard classes at school, and from annoying conversations. It didn’t seem to happen. I’ve been sick for nearly a month. Everyday I would wake up and I was still just as sick. Still just as tired. I wanted to stop all work. To take a break from everything connected with life. To be honest, at times  I wanted a break from faith, from reaching the campus. I had no strength left. I would wake up early in the morning just as tired and I believed that maybe he hadn’t heard. But he did. Because rest is more than sleep and relaxation.

To rest is to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. God knew what I needed when I didn’t know how to ask for it. I needed more than just sleep, I needed endurance to stay in the position that I’ve been placed in as a light on the campus. He supported me. From the moment I woke up to the time I fell asleep again, he supported me. I accomplished each and every task that was required of me. I was exhausted, but I was at rest.

I wonder if Proverbs 31:17-18 is misunderstood by some.

¨She sets about her work vigorously;

   her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,

   and her lamp does not go out at night.¨

Many women look at the Proverbs 31 woman and see an impossible standard. I mean, it’s almost like this chick never takes a break…ever. Not even to sleep. And then she gets up and keeps going, full of energy, full of power. She seems so…perfect. She has unending reservoirs of strength. Physically, mentally, emotionally. How is this possible? And why do people tend to see her as woman without exhaustion? In reality, a woman like this is tired, so how is she so strong? Whatever she does she has the strength for, because her rest doesn’t come from sleep. It comes from God. Because of God. She’s tired, but she never takes a break from the fight because God enables her to stay in her specified position.

The parallels about rest in the Bible don’t end with the Proverbs 31 woman. Think about Matthew 11:28 ¨Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (heavy-laden), and I will give you rest.” Suddenly, it means something a little different than it used to. It’s not just about physical rest. It’s God’s promise to be our rock, our support when things are too much for us to take. It’s strength to keep battling the enemy.

Yet again in John 4:6, we see that Jesus was tired, ¨Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.¨ This is the beginning of the story of The Woman at the Well. This will soon be a major turning point in the life of a tired woman and a frustrated town. But it could have just as easily never happened. Jesus could have asked for water because he was tried and never engaged the woman in conversation. He could have decided to just rest. To take a break from it all. The important truth in this verse revolves around the fact that Jesus never walked away from what God had called him to do because he was tired. At first, that seems nearly impossible as well. But it’s not. He didn’t find his strength and restoration from physical rest. He found it by resting in God. He maintained his position because God was supporting Him and he leaned on God’s strength for everything. He did not rely on his own physical strength and abilities because he recognized how frail they were in comparison to God’s. We are reminded yet again in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Our physical exhaustion may be a weakness, but when we ask God for rest, he turns it into a power.

Categories: Bible, encouragement, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, rest, sleep, stress | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Never More Than You Can Handle

It’s often said that God will never give us more than we can handle. In a sense, those words can be comforting. In some ways, it seems to indicate that we won’t be taken in over our head or be burned in the fire. But it’s a complete and total lie. God never promised us that he wouldn’t give us more than we could handle, in fact he promises just the opposite. He gives us way more than we could deal with on our own, takes us deeper than our feet would wander, and perhaps singes us in the flames. That phrase comes from the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises he will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able to bear or handle. God places a burden upon us that we can’t possibly carry on our own- and we are left with a choice. Will we try to take the load up ourselves and walk on our own? Or will we acknowledge that we can accomplish nothing in our own strength? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul has just finished describing his struggle with what he calls a “thorn in his flesh”, we don’t know exactly what he’s referencing, but through his battle with this, he hears the voice of God speak to him the words “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul concludes the verse with the phrase, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The key is to not be strong. What do I mean? When it comes to spiritual matters, we cannot have the mindset of “suck it up, be strong, and just get through it”. That attitude puts us in control of carrying a responsibility that we can’t possibly deal with. It will never end well and it won’t make us stronger than before. It’s like trying to lift 300lbs when you can only really lift 30. Lifting that weight isn’t going to make you any stronger, in reality you’d probably end up breaking an arm. It doesn’t end well because we were not capable of lifting that weight ourselves. We must learn to be spiritually weak, so that God’s power is able to shine though us. As Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our weakness brings our good and his glory. But don’t get me wrong, being weak doesn’t mean we stop exercising faith, in reality, it takes more faith to be spiritually weak than it does strong; this is because our weakness is a sign of humility and a sign of trust. It’s surrender. We recognize the fact that we can’t do it alone, and we roll that sense of responsibility back onto him. We place one end on the shoulder of God. God meets us at that moment when we are faced with something we can’t possibly handle, and He’s there when our faith his goodness and sometimes our faith in him run out. He quietly asks the question, “Will you let me help you?”

There are times when we must walk on the raging sea, go through the fire, or carry a burden so that, as James writes in verse 1:4, “we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But we never have to carry it alone. God gives us more than we can handle so we turn our eyes back to him, walk with him, and watch as he does incredible things in the middle of our weaknesses. In those times where we don’t know what to say. In the times were we feel inadequate. In those moments where we are scared out of our minds to take a leap of faith and be bold. In the times where our perfectionism and our fear of failure swallows us up. In the times when the world is falling apart and you know you can’t possibly piece it back together. We give it to him. And he works it for our good and his glory. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”. We can’t fathom the power that is accessible to us through the Holy Spirit. God does so so so much more than our minds can comprehend. His reserves of power never run dry. He never gets exhausted. Only when we admit to being weak can God fill us up with that kind of power. Only when we place our faith in him and trust that he’s going to pick up the other end of the load. He won’t let us carry it on our own. Only when we believe his promise in Matthew 20:28 that he will be with us always even to the end of the age, and we tell Jesus that we are through trying to get though it on our own. That we can only do things when Christ strengthens us.

What about you? Where are you? Are you caught up in trying to do things on your own? To power through one more day? To soak up some strength from who knows where? I challenge you to fall before the feet of Jesus and tell him that you’re ready to be weak. Ready to trust completely in his power and his plan, even though you don’t know what that might mean for you. Ready to trust his goodness and his sovereignty, even when things don’t seem to be good. To cast all your cares upon the one who cares for you. Because he has a purpose and a plan even when you can’t see it, and it’s to prosper and not to harm, it’s a plan to glorify him, it’s a plan that means the best for you and will give you hope and a future. Do you truly trust him? Be weak. God has promised to never give you more than He can handle.

Categories: Bible, Church, Faith, Trust | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Guys. It’s been TWO YEARS since I started this blog. Is that crazy or what? I admit, I didn’t do so well this past year with posting regularly. There wasn’t much to read. Which is why I am so amazed that this blog has only grown over the past year. God is so good. But, in order to get the whole idea you’ll need to see some numbers, so without further ado…

Number of Hits: 1, 980

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts/ Pages:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 147 views

About Me– 118 views

To God Be the Glory– 98 views

Number of Followers: 40

Number of Comments: 61

Number of Posts: 26

Again, I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been over 40 countries represented in the views, even some countries in which the internet is highly censored. God is using this blog to share the gospel in counties like that all over the world. I am only a minor character in this elaborate story God has designed and I couldn’t be more grateful to be used by God to reach the nations with the gospel. If you would, take a moment today to thank God for how he has used you, even when you didn’t deserve it. Dear reader, thank you for reading the few posts I had this year and not dropping out of my followers list even when you rightfully should have. Now that my blog is exactly how I want it to be with those new pages ready for anyone to read, I am certain that the gospel will reach farther in this coming year than it has in the previous years combined.

Prayer is powerful. Join me in praying big prayers over this blog. Not So Supergirl doesn’t belong to me. I don’t claim it. It belongs to God and I pray the words I write are the words he wants me to say. I don’t know what the next year will bring; but I do know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog. God is going to keep doing jaw-dropping things through it, and I hope you will continue to follow along with me on this journey. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You are my source of inspiration. Each day presents an opportunity to know you better and fall in love with you more. I want to make the most of each of those days. Guide me when it gets tough. Remind me that you’re always, always, always, in control and you’re still on the throne no matter what happens. This blog wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Fairytale of Pain

Once upon a time, I wanted to learn how to play guitar. My daddy could play and I remember sitting in front of him on the floor while he sat on the couch and played 80’s worship songs. I sang along. Over the years, I had a growing desire to learn how to play acoustic guitar. I saw amazing worship leaders who all played guitar or songwriters who strummed their guitars while figuring out songs and I wanted to do that too. So, when I was in seventh grade, I expressed my desire to learn and my daddy printed off a chord sheet at my request. He demonstrated the chords G, E minor, D, and C, and told me to come back to him when I could play them fairly well. I sat down on the guest room bed with my daddy’s guitar and tried to play G. The cheat of G is where you press down on the tiny E string with your ring finger and strum the bottom strings. At first I tried to play it, but it didn’t sound quite right so I pressed down harder and switched to my middle finger and there it was! The G chord!

I examined my finger, which had a growing red line through the fingertip from pressing down so hard. I rubbed it, shook out my hand and had second thoughts about playing guitar. It wasn’t supposed to be this… painful…was it? But ever determined to learn how to play guitar, I formulated a solution. I cut off the sticky parts of a Band-Aid and stuck them on the tips of my forefinger, middle finger, and ring finger on my left hand. My mom came in and asked what I was doing and I told her that I was learning to play guitar, but it hurt when I pressed down on the strings, so I was coming up with a solution where I could play guitar without hurting my fingers so much. She told me it wouldn’t work; but ever convinced of my genius, I set out to resume learning guitar. After conquering E minor with a little more difficulty, I realized that my mom was absolutely right. It didn’t make much of a difference. I still had red lines running through the tips of my fingers and the Band-Aids were starting to come off. I sighed and attempted D. It sounded right about 20% of the time. Nearly defeated, I went back to my daddy and asked him to play them for me, so I could hear how they were supposed to sound. He took the guitar from me and played each one perfectly, one after the other. Awed by his impressive guitar skills, I asked how in the world he was able to do that. Didn’t it hurt? He told me to practice every day and allow callouses to grow on my fingers. With renewed interest, I went back to the isolation of the guest room and tried to play again.

The next day, I went back to my daddy and played those four chords. Did they sound right? Probably not. But I begged him, give me a song to play and I can do it. I asked him to print off “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band and I went back to the solitary confinement of the guest room and tried to play. My fingers throbbed and were bright red. Purplish trenches appeared on the tips. The fling lasted about three days. Learning guitar wasn’t worth the pain it caused my fingers. The Christmas of 2011, I opened my eyes to find a guitar. I vowed that I would learn to play this time. But, things got in the way, my fingers hurt and it sat untouched in the corner of my room. The summer of 2013, with nothing to do for the month of July after youth camp and a mission trip in June, I felt God telling me to pick up my guitar again. So I did. Convinced that God had something for me to do with my guitar, I set out to re-teach myself what I knew and learn what I didn’t. And it hurt. My fingers throbbed and were red, I saw purplish lines, and I asked; why would anyone ever want to play guitar? Why would you torture yourself for this? And my mom replied, because it’s something they want to do. They put themselves though the pain of it because there is a reward, being able to play guitar. So I grumbled, but with the reassurance that God had something for me to do with guitar, I sat down and practiced.

Almost every day of July, I practiced. Through the pain, so sure that God had something in mind for this. And sure enough, I grew callouses, and playing guitar didn’t hurt anymore. In fact, I enjoyed playing guitar. To this day, I only know those four chords, but I can play almost any song for you and sing it in the key of G, including the very first song I learned, “How He Loves”. So what’s the point of this story? I think it can mean many different things. But it’s more than just a “No pain, no gain” story. It’s about life and it’s about the things we can’t accomplish on our own. Over time, I’ve had other experiences similar to this. I wanted or needed to accomplish something, it was painful, I stepped back, and God pushed me forward. It’s not normal to run and embrace things that are painful; it’s not a part of natural human behavior. We shrink away from the things that might make us hurt. I know I easily lose sight of the reward in the midst of pain, and I take a step back. But sometimes, God asks us to do things that are painful in order to develop us. Take a look at this verse in James:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

James 1:2-4 (MSG)

God challenges me to do things. To fight through the pain and embrace him with all that I am, to let him carry it for me. God does the same with you. Under pressure, we find that maybe we aren’t as tough as we thought we were, that suddenly the pain doesn’t seem worth the reward. We take a step back and think to ourselves, it’s not supposed to be this…painful….is it? And God pushes us forward and tells us that the reward is worth it. Whether that reward is being able to play guitar, live a healthy life, or fall even deeper in love with him. Maybe you’re learning to play guitar and God is teaching you so much through the red throbbing fingertips that will become smooth callouses if you just keep on playing. Maybe you’re trying to get in shape with exercise and proper nutrition and God has told you to trust him, not your own willpower. Maybe he’s working in your heart, developing places that he can take control of and show you that the pain isn’t really as painful as you thought it was, because the reward is so much greater. To show you that the pain only makes a sweeter “Happily Ever After”.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, Guitar, learning, Pain | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Strong and Courageous: Leading Well (Part 4)

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:1-9

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What God’s asking Joshua to do here, isn’t all about moral support for a leader, it’s about asking Joshua to trust Him . To let go of fear, and let Him take it’s place. Fear comes when we don’t trust God. That’s how perfect love casts out all fear. Where there’s perfect love, there’s perfect trust. I wonder if Joshua was scared. He’s painted as a strong leader, unafraid, ready to do anything God would ask; like Moses. But he must have had his doubts. With Moses dead, he must have been wondering what God was up to. When God said, “Moses died, you’re taking over”, and I don’t imagine there was a lot of gusto on his part. He probably felt like a deflated party balloon. Going to see the promise land one minute and the next being told the leader of the whole mission had died and he was in charge. Everything is different when you have a whole lot more people looking up to you. He saw what these people were capable of. What if they didn’t like him? What if he failed? What about the enemies? The danger? What about war? They can’t just waltz in there an expect them to give up their land without a fight? So now he’s an army general? Even better. A new leader, responsible for land, lives, lunch, and large groups of snickering people. 

And God says: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

God is telling him that he’s gonna be with him, just like Moses. His role-model. Who was so close to the glory of God his face shone so no one could look upon it. This guy was legend. His faith and leadership were legend, because of his trust in God. And God’s giving him the same thing? Wow. Ultimate confidence boost. Now Joshua may have been a fearless person who was so tight with God he just trusted him without hesitation. But I believe these words by God were said to him for a specific reason. Maybe because he had begun to take responsibility on himself for the people’s well-being or because he felt so inadequate to carry out such a task.

God replies: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “

But maybe we still worry about messing something up and in response to that God answers: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He said something similar to that before. Before, he said “I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” He reminds us that he is with us now, and will be with us in the future. There is nowhere we can go where he will not be there with us.  Looking over these encouraging words I was inspired to write a prayer I feel Joshua would say in the face of his circumstances. This prayer is something I desire to say in my own life, an act of surrender and recognition of how powerful God is. Maybe you need to remind yourself of these things as well. I think it should go something like this :

“Lord, I can’t be strong or courageous on my own. I can’t help but be frightened or dismayed by all that has happened recently. But you’ve promised you would be with me before. And you promised that you are with me now, and will still be with me no matter where I go or how old I get. Knowing that is the only way I could ever be strong and courageous when faced with what’s before me. Lord, I can’t lead these people. But you can, because their your people. I can’t take care of the land; but you can, because you’ve made it and chosen to give it to your people. I can’t give these people food, but you can, because you’re the great Provider. You’ve done it in the past and you’re just a capable now. I can’t win a war, but you can, because you’ll fight for your people. Lord, I can’t be strong, but you are. I can’t be courageous, but you can. Whatever you want to do with what I have to offer, take it. You’ve reminded me that I can’t do anything without you. I can’t be strong. I can’t be courageous. I can’t lead people. I can’t provide. But you can. And not through anything that I have done, but all because of what you have done and will continue to do. Trust casts out all fear. Where there is perfect love, there is perfect trust. So lead on Lord. Take everything I have and use it for your glory. Let them see your power and your might. Let everyone be utterly astounded by how great you are.”

If we would only take action instead of questioning God and letting our minds fill with doubts about our own abilities. They are justified doubts if we were required to do everything on our own; but we’re not. God will never call you to do or face something that you are improperly equipped for. He knows you better than you know yourself; and he also knows himself. He is stronger than we are, but so often we try to carry our burdens alone. He is wiser than we are, but we so often use feeble logic and reasoning to solve our problems. He is more courageous than we are, but, again, we look at our own small ounce of courage and maybe try to take a leap of faith. But we find our courage depleting fast, to the point where we have nearly none at all, and the leap is more like a wobble from one foot to the other in the wrong direction. Leadership isn’t about us being strong and courageous in the face of trouble. It’s about trusting him with our whole heart and letting him do the rest. And sometimes, the strength and courage come in when we take a leap of faith, not trusting our on footing, but expecting a free-fall before being caught in the arms of the Almighty God. “Be strong and courageous” is all about trusting him and letting him do the rest. And leadership requires much more of that than any skills we have we have to offer.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments
 
 

Happy Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been ONE YEAR since I started this blog. It just doesn’t seem real. God has used this in amazing ways, but it was his blog in the first place, I was merely writing what he told me. So in honor of Not So Supergirl, I have compiled a list of the stats. And drum roll please….

Number of Hits: 1, 445

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 142 views

My Future Husband– 86 views

Speechless– 76 views

Number of Followers: 22

Number of Comments: 42

Number of Posts: 18

I have to say, I think that’s pretty good. Okay… more than good. When I look at all the stats I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been nearly 40 counties represented in the views, not including the USA. To my readers, thanks for sticking around this long. I haven’t always been the best at posting regularly- even though my intentions were good. After a while the “new blog” excitement wears thin and you realize you need to keep writing, even when you don’t always feel like it. Not just for people to read, but to keep your own faith where it needs to be; to come to God and sit down for a while and let him speak to you, even when your not feeling it.  I know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog and God is going to keep doing wonderful things through it, and I hope you guys still decide this stuff is worth reading. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You give me so much inspiration and I’m positive it will never run out. That’s just what I love about you, the more I think I know about you, the less I really do. This blog (not to mention me) wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, words | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

People Pleasing: Leading Well (Part 3)

1 Samuel 15:24

                      “Saul gave in and confessed…“I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over                                                           God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people.                                      I let them tell me what to do.”

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People are very influential beings, and often very selfish. They think about what  they want, when they want it, and they use people in order to get it. Words can be as sharp as a double edge sword or as smooth as butter, leading people to their downfall. God placed kings to be examples of good leaders, designed to bring peace and prosperity their domain, if they sought after what the Lord would have them to do, and stayed in that will. He also placed certain kings to be examples of discipline and downfall, to show what would happen to the people if they strayed from him, to let them know how helpless and purely mortal they were. Riches and stone towers cannot protect people from everything. Even kings were ruined, sometimes inside their lavish homes. Some kings were evil and caused the people pain, but the people brought it upon themselves because they wanted a king, and were not content with God’s power and leading alone. Saul was the first king, made king because of this desire of the people.

This verse was written after he had blown his last chance at being a God-fearing king. He has heard the news that he is to be replaced, and that the Spirit of God would no longer dwell in him. God was tired of having the being in which he dwelled, consistently pursuing the wrong things. So, God said, “Enough”. It was that “last straw” that got my attention. It was his confession that got me thinking. His last chance at proving himself a godly king ended because he tried too hard to please people, and not hard enough to please God. Many times, the downfall of a leader is another person, or in this case more than one person. When we try to please them, instead of pleasing God, it creates problems. Our focus comes off of what God’s will is for something and onto what will make the most people happy. Often times, the things God calls us to do don’t make very many people happy, but that is where it becomes important to choose him over popular opinion.

I’m a people pleaser. I love people. I want them to like me. If they don’t, I think there is something wrong with me personally. I don’t stop to think that maybe they are the ones who need to do something different, instead, I try to change myself. Now, that doesn’t mean I go off and become someone I’m not, but I take their opinion of me personally, when their opinions aren’t personal to me at all.  It’s hard to be task oriented when you focus too much on the people involved. It’s hard to be people oriented  when you focus too much on the task at hand. There has to be a balance. Because if there is no balance, either nothing gets done or people get their feelings hurt, and sometimes, some of both.  Saul in this verse, not only paid too much attention to pleasing a crowd, but he got so caught up in pleasing the crowd, that he went in the wrong direction completely. God was angry because he specifically asked Saul to do an important task and Saul said “no”.  So God said “no” to his being king any longer. Leaders are entrusted with an important task, and straying from that task in order to please others is just as bad as saying “no” to the face of a holy God. There is no respect, no fear, where there rightfully should be, and God’s command isn’t something we need to rebel against like an immature teenager. At the very end of the chapter, 1 Samuel 15: 35, reads “…God was sorry he ever made Saul king in the first place.” I would hate to have God be sorry that he ever entrusted me with a task as great as the one he has given me.

We are not defined by what people think of us, we are defined, and always should be defined, by what God thinks of us, because his opinion matters so much more than any other person on this planet. “Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10.  We are not here to please ourselves or to please others, but solely for the glorification of our God and one true King. Leading well requires us to forget about pleasing people, and instead make it our aim to please God in everything we do.

Categories: christianity, Faith, Kings, leadership, people, perfection, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

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This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Work in Progress

I’ve had people ask me a lot of challenging questions this week. I’ve gone through many faith-challenging things these last few weeks. I found that through my walk with Christ, I’m able to give things to God more easily. When something comes up that I feel like I don’t know how to handle, I’ve learned to give it to God. It’s still a work in progress. That phrase, “a work in progress”, describes me well. My tennis skills: a work in progress. My gym class tolerance: a work in progress. My faith: a work in progress. Mackenzie: a work in progress. There are many things I need to work on, and many things God needs to work out of me.

I find that people often say “be strong” when you’re faced with hard circumstances, but I’ve found God tells me just the opposite. He tells me that through my weaknesses, he is made strong. Basically, he says “be weak.” When you become weak, you become flexible to God’s schedule as opposed to your own. You’re giving him control, letting him turn something into a masterpiece, instead of trying to make it on your own, without even knowing how. You’re trying to make something perfect out of nothing. Have you ever done pottery before? Imagine an instructor sitting a ball of clay before you and saying, make a flawless teapot. I don’t want to see any cracks, and make sure all the air bubbles our out and make sure you use the spiral method. Oh, and don’t forget to wedge and knead the clay before you hollow it out, also score and slip the pot before adding the handle. Unless you really know how to make pottery, you might be a little lost.

I’ll explain. If there are cracks in the clay you are molding with, it will be hard to shape and falls apart easily. If there are air bubbles in the clay when you fire it in the kiln, your masterpiece will explode. The spiral method of making pottery is difficult and it usually comes out lopsided if the clay “snake” is not rolled out evenly. You wedge and knead clay to get all the air bubbles out so it doesn’t explode in the kiln. You must also hollow out the inside of your pot because you couldn’t use it if you didn’t and also because there is a great chance there are air bubbles in that clay and it will explode in the kiln if you do not knead them out. You score and slip pieces of clay that you want to attach together, because they would not stick otherwise. Slip is a mixture of clay and water that acts as a glue for pieces of pottery. Scoring refers to the process of roughing up the surface area of the two objects that you want to attach, where you want to attach them; scoring is like making scratch marks in the clay with a utensil such as a plastic fork before slipping it and attaching it. If you do something wrong, your masterpiece will either fall apart or explode when you try to complete it.

I wonder how many of us, would have known exactly what to do, without being told any of that information. How many of us could have made perfect, flawless teapots? And yet we treat our lives like a piece of pottery that we know exactly how to mold, which is the biggest lie. Does a pot know how to mold itself? So for God to accomplish his purpose in us, we must first become weak and willing. We are all works in progress. None of us are perfect. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I look at people who don’t seem to have any problems in their life and wish I were them. Comparing myself to a broken, useless person who God has fixed, isn’t perfection. It’s a broken useless person who God has fixed and given a purpose to. I’ve misunderstood and undoubtedly misplaced perfection. We have God’s full attention. He is intent on making us into something wonderful. We never take the time to notice that our creator is perfect. We never take the time to compare our own lives to his. We are too caught up in comparing ourselves to “perfect” people. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and only when I become weak, can God turn me into something breath-taking.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.

Categories: beauty, Bible, clay, clay pot, comparision, Corinthians, creations, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, relationships, Self-esteem, Thoughts, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The past few weeks have been a challenge and I was tempted to write a blog post about it. But finding out where to begin was hard, and I feel like I’ve posted enough posts about the sadness in my life. Optimistic and cheerful are two words describing me in the dictionary and I want to keep up the image. This blog is to encourage others in their faith, not to tell them my life story. So while I was worrying about what to do, a song came on my iPod.

“Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

I love this song. If you’re having a bad day, this song is perfect. Spiritually this song has great value as well… but not as much as this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7(MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

I hope today has been blessed, and don’t worry…don’t do it. Be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Categories: Bible, christianity, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, happiness, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, Moving, people, prayer, reality, speech, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Learning to Listen

I’m a chatterbox. There is the plain truth in black and white. If someone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them. They will hear much more about my life than they ever wanted to. It’s comical really. But I also have a tendency to be a chatterbox to God. I talk and talk and talk about my problems. Why this, why that, I wonder about this, I wonder about that, on and on and on. It’s good to pray. It’s good to talk. But sometimes all the talking drowns out what the other person is trying to say and you miss something important. When my mouth isn’t moving, there is something wrong with me physically. When my heart is talking, there is something wrong with me spiritually.

Why is there something wrong with me spiritually? It’s because I’ve completely ignored what God is trying to tell me. I’ve interrupted and kept talking. “Be still, and know that I am God.” For me, God is trying to tell me in that verse to stop being such a chatterbox and just quiet down and listen. He is God! He holds the entire world and my problems are nothing compared to him. One of the first steps toward having gentle and quiet spirit is to be quiet. Many of my friends are quiet people. That leaves me to do most of the talking. But when me and another friend both like to talk, it creates serious communication issues. You try to talk at the same time and all the words are jumbled together. When you tried to say “my fish is sick” and they tried to say, “I bought some tuna” you wind up with something like “my tuna fish is some stick”; not at all what you were trying to get across. It’s the same thing with God, though with a not nearly as funny outcome.

When you talk so much you can’t hear God, your almost saying “what I have to say is so much more important that what you have to say, therefore you must listen to me before I’ll hear anything from you.” It’s a detrimental spiritual disease called selfishness. It grows in your soul and has to be weeded out by a professional gardener; otherwise, it spreads and you think you are entitled to everything because the world revolves around you and what you want. This is what I’ve done when I needed to listen to God. Because I don’t, I wind up completely and utterly confused and lost. Because I don’t focus on his directions, I lose sight of the way he wants me to walk. Being quiet takes practice; it takes vigorous spiritual exercise to listen. When all you want to do is tell God about your problems, you forget that he is trying to tell you how to fix them. Spiritual chatterboxes don’t make strong Christians; they make confused Christians who have a selfish slant to their lives.

Praying is a wonderful thing. But prayer is a conversation, not a journal you’re keeping. With prayer, you talk to be heard and you talk to be answered. Spiritual talking is almost like a cheat prayer. You just talk to talk and whether anyone responds isn’t your concern. Each trial we face in our lives, is for us to learn from, whether we want to learn or not. The trials build up our faith and the more you learn from it, the stronger you faith becomes. But how much you learn depends on how much you listen.

Categories: Bible, Change, chatterbox, christianity, communication, converstions, encouragement, Faith, garden, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Journals, learning, life, listening, love, people, prayer, reality, relationships, selfishness, speech, Thoughts, Trust, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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