Spiritual Life

The Real #MissedOpportunities

Do you believe that God has a plan for you?

We are told countless times as we are growing up that God has a unique plan for all of us. We have loved ones write Jeremiah 29:11 in our Christmas and graduation cards and are told “it must not have been part of the plan,” when something unexpected happens. But once we get into college we start to become frustrated with God’s “so-called plan.” Yes, God is sovereign and His plan should take precedence, but why does that have to result at my own expense?

Why does that mean I never get to date the boy I’ve had a crush on for months who is equally yoked, don’t do well on the quizzes I actually study for in school, and get cut from a group that is called to serve you? Why do those with the strongest faith get wrecked by debilitating cancer, why do children get raped by ISIS every day, and why are there those living in poverty in the streets of our own country? How can these bad things be part of God’s plan?  I can’t at all pretend to have all the answers, but I also know that God has to answer to no one least of all little old me.

One verse that has constantly frustrated me over the years was,

“ Take delight in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

It frustrated me because I felt like I was constantly trying my best to please the Lord, be obedient to His plan, so why couldn’t he start to show me some of those desires? In my mind I was the perfect Christian. I didn’t drink, went to youth group every week, and wore a purity ring to school every day. I mean if anyone deserved to have their desires it was me.

It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that I finally realized something. That verse about God giving us our desires isn’t about our desires at all. It’s about His desires. God gives us everything yet all He asks is one simple thing. He wants our hearts. And not the tiny corner we try to give Him as we groggily whisper prayers to Him as we fall asleep. Not the tiny corner we give Him on Sunday mornings when we raise our hands exuberantly to the worship songs. Not the tiny corner we give Him as we quickly sneak a prayer in before our meal date in a crowded college cafeteria.  All of it.

Because our lives aren’t about us at all. They’re all about Him. When we start walking intimately with the Father we realize that what He wants most of all is to give us the plans He has already made in advance for us. His desires that His hopes will become ours. I have been praying for a year or so now to let God’s desires become my own desires. I would rather live the life God wants me to live with Him than live half a life with my own plans. Every time I have not gotten something I wanted from God, He has given me something so much better in return or protected me from something that would’ve hurt me so much in the long run. Have you ever stopped to consider that God knows what we need before we even ask for it?

My friend shared a great song with me lately that I have actually attached called Clear the Stage. The song really gets to my point on this post. Sometimes we need to clear the stage of all the plans, dreams, and things we are clinging to over God to make room for His plans, dreams, and the things He wants to bless us with. Because when put our desires and plans over God we miss huge opportunities to serve Him and bless other people. Maybe you’re thinking that you actually don’t have an idol problem. Well, these words from song can help enlighten you.

“Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol. Anything that I give all my love to is an idol.”

Sound familiar at all? These words remind me that my struggle against idols is far from over, but I know that with God all things are possible. Don’t be discouraged thinking that you are not good enough, worthy enough, or smart enough to be part of God’s epic story. He didn’t just write you in as a supporting role. He gave you the role of hero because He has plans unique to you and you alone.

 

So what do you say, are you ready to clear your stage or are you going to be content letting God’s opportunities pass you by? 

Clear The Stage by Jimmy Needham

 

Is God Your Number One Priority??

What consumes your thoughts? Where does your mind drift to when you’re day dreaming in class? Who is on your mind? Is it God? Because if I’m being honest that is not always the case for me. When people think of idols in our modern day culture they think that they are outdated. They think just because they aren’t worshiping a golden calf that, that means that they have made God their number one priority. “The idols of this nation are silver and gold, the work of human hands.” Psalm 135:15.

I am going to tell you something that might confuse you. Idols can be good. Most idols start out as being good things, even gifts from God. They become bad when we decide to exalt them over God and spend more time dwelling on them than our Father in Heaven. They can be anything. School work, boys, friends, fear of being left out, how you present yourself on social media, etc, etc. For me, I feel like a big idol of mine has always been boys. I love to be that girl who has a crush and excitedly tells all her friends about the interactions I had with him during the day. I am also the girl who worries and worries and worries about if they like her or not. It completely consumes me. You know who is not constantly on my mind during those times? God.

I treat Him like a king if I was able to have a great interaction with my crush that day and like a pariah if I did not. I constantly didn’t understand why I couldn’t have the one thing I wanted. I had done in my mind what God had asked me to do. I didn’t sleep around, I didn’t send the boys I liked bad pictures of myself;all I wanted was a boy who I could love and help me to grow in my faith. But even though that is a great and normal thing to desire, it was taking all my time and energy away from the number one thing I should have been desiring. Sometimes God has to smack you in the face for you to realize you are not making Him your priority. We deserve nothing from God, yet oftentimes we expect everything.

That is why I am starting a series with the acronym of I.D.O.L.S. because in our society it can be easy to look at the Israelites and scoff at them for worshiping a  golden calf over the God of the universe.  But we as Christians fail to realize that we do the same thing when we skip our devotion time to study with that cute boy from our chemistry class,  work out instead of pray because our bodies have to look a certain way,  and choose to put all our worth in academic success rather than considering what our life will look like in heaven. Because idols don’t just take us away from God’s love, they take away pieces of ourselves until we have nothing left to give God. They take our Interests, Desires, Opportunities, Leisure, and Self away from the Heavenly Father that grants us breathe each and every day.

But I have good news. Because of Jesus’s death we are freed from these things that seem to take and take from our lives. We are not slaves to our idols, we are slaves to no one. So today I would encourage you to take a good hard look at your life and discern if your life is truly one that puts God before anything and anyone else. “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God will all your heart and all you soul and all your mind.” Would you be willing to stand before God and say you did just that?

 

So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

Let me ask you a question, what defines you? Is it the clothing of an elite label, hiding behind the mouse of the latest Mac computer, or being first in line to buy Taylor Swift tickets? Do your passions reflect a love for God or the stuff you chose to surround yourself with?

The definition of greed is an intense or selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Sometimes we are so caught up in trying to outshine each other on social media, with our $600 dollar prom gowns and Jcrew statement necklaces, that we start to be defined by our stuff more than by personalities. Nothing is wrong with taking pride in your appearance or saving up your money to buy something you desire, it is when this need becomes excessive that there is a problem. Suddenly we can find ourselves being consumed with having to have the latest and greatest gadgets that we neglect our Savior.

If you know me well at all you know that I absolutely adore clothing. You also might describe me as little bit of a brand whore. To me who made the shirt matters just as much as what it looks like. I take and inordinate amount of pride in people knowing that “Yes, that shirt did come from Tommy Hilfiger, thank you very much.” But when I truly look inside myself I realize that the only reason I care so much about my appearance is because I care too much about what other people think. Ever been there? It can be easy in today’s culture to think that we have to buy the latest this or have a certain brand of jeans to be cool, but in reality these products are not going to be the things that last forever.

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will also be.”- Matthew 6:19-21.

That verse definitely does not beat around the bush.  We are on earth for such a short amount of time and when we die no one is going to remember that we were the first ones at our high schools to have a Michael Kors purse. They are going to remember us by our characters; were we kind? Did we put other people before ourselves? Or were we too busy tweeting everything that happens on our smartphones that we forgot to spend time with those around us?

As hard as it can be, we need to start thinking about eternity and more about how God perceives our actions than our peers. The love and grace of our Savior is the one thing that we can never buy and we never have to earn. He doesn’t care about the type of clothes we wear or that we start our mornings with Shakeolgy. He cares about the intimate details of our lives, like how many hairs we have on our head or how many times we’ve cried because we saw a picture of our friends going out on Instagram and have failed to be invited. He wants to know us even more and use us in bigger ways than we could ever dream or imagine.

But we can’t be used by Him as easily if we find ourselves being too consumed with making sure that all our friends see everything we’ve ever bought on social media. Posting endlessly about the new dress you bought from Lily Pulitzer is definitely not going to shatter anyone’s life, but putting that energy into showing God’s love could.  Sometimes we have to take a step back and realize why exactly we post what we do. Is it to truly share our joy with other people, or is it to make other people feel bad about themselves? So the next time you are stressing out because you don’t have the latest (insert blank here) ask yourself a question. Do I want to be defined as the girl who has a lot of stuff or do I want to be defined as the girl who passionately loves her Savior?

 

Pride: I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up

Is there really anything better than that feeling you get when someone tells you that you’ve done a great job or that you’re gifted in some way, or the feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone picks you first for their team or suggests you for a job? These are great ways to feed our pride, but (please tell me you can relate) pride can quickly become a monster of its own.

As I have mentioned many times before, I am about to start my junior year at a small Christian college. It’s a college that has many great qualities and has done a lot for growing my faith, but it is also pretty common to get judgment stares when you go to brunch on Sunday and you look like you haven’t come from a church service. As Christians, nothing excites us quite as much as the opportunity to pass so good healthy judgment. For example, just because someone regularly posts a picture of a Bible and a cup of coffee on Instagram complete with the hastag #blessed doesn’t mean she isn’t struggling with her own issues, and just because someone else has never posted Hillsong United song lyrics on a Sunday morning doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a very real authentic faith.

When my mom attended the same college, there was a group there called Salt Company. It was basically just a Bible study that met on Friday nights at like 8’o’clock. According to her, it was like you weren’t really a Christian if you didn’t attend this prestigious group. “who loved Jesus the “most” was there on Friday’s and you better believe you faced the Grover judgment if you weren’t. This is one of the hardest parts of being a Christian, at least for me. You want the whole world to know how much you love God, but you also don’t want to be self-righteous. You want to be able to witness to people, but you don’t want to be too of the world.

Have you ever met those people who are so nice, kind, and patient no matter what life throws at them? When they are complimented for their hard work instead of thanking you and internally going “yes, I really am the bomb.com,” say “I could be nothing without God”? I always find myself being so frustrated by those people because I can’t relate to them. Sometimes I swear, and sometimes I laugh at dirty jokes’ and sometimes I love myself way more than I should. Now I’m not in any way making fun of those people because they are great gifts, and most of the time I know they are authentic. But after I talk to those people I always feel like, “wow, I’m going to hell”. Or how about when it comes time to share your testimony and the whole group just finished sobbing because Jimmy shared his heart wrenching tale of how he overcame his drug addiction with Jesus. Suddenly it’s your turn. As all the eyes in the room fixate on you, you’re thinking, “crap all I have to follow this up is well I grew up in a Christian home and I gave my life to Jesus on the hill of a candlelit service in 5th grade.”

I think as Christians we can get stuck believing that if we don’t behave a certain way or even throw our faith in everyone’s face that we can’t be used by God. That is not even close to being true. God has a special place to use people who are different than us to reach certain groups of people.  He has also placed you right where you are and with your gifts and talents because He wants YOU to reach someone right where you are.

“For who makes you different than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t give you? And if everything you have is from God , why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. It can so hard in our own walks with God not to look around in compare ourselves to others. We can quickly become the type of people who gossip/pray about our friends or feel the need to raise our hands at every worship service just to show off.

Something that can really help win over our non-Christian friends and family is when we can honestly admit that we don’t have it all together. My mom was really struggling with her faith when she thought she needed to be a certain type of Christian. She said she really contributes the growth of her faith in college to her friend Ann. She could relate to Ann. It can be so easy when we have already been Christians for a long time to feel like we need to impress each other with all our Biblical knowledge or have a dramatic story in order to make an impact. The truth is God can use our story to reach other people– whether we are the people who came to Christ from a drug addiction or the kid that never missed VBS. We need to be authentic about our faith and be quicker to admit our pride and our flaws. I hope one day to be an impact to my friends the way my mom’s friend Ann was to her, but trust me, every day is a work in progress. So the next time you’re seated at church by the person who is notorious for “Yes Lording” everything the pastor says, just remember that all our faith journeys are different. Let’s not let our pride and judgment have us fall off our paths.

 

What To Say When Your Friend Compares You To A Sloth

I’m pretty sure if anyone ever told me I looked like a sloth, I would deck them. Who wants to be compared to a tropical animal that looks like someone on sedatives hanging upside down from a tree? Sloth is also mentioned in a much different light than a mammal when it is named among the other seven deadly sins. The definition of sloth is a reluctance to work or make an effort. Sound like anyone you know? Our culture seems to be absolutely riddled nowadays with a big lack of a work ethic. We all know who I’m talking about, that one person you work with you who pretends to be sick so they can go home early? That person that seems to be near tears when they’re never scheduled, but once they get more hours are constantly calling off.

But sloth does not just apply to an actual job, it can apply to any area of our lives. It can be not studying as hard as you need to for your Chemistry test because you feel like trying to beat your high score on Candy Crush instead. Or it can be not truly giving you best effort at a sporting event because you have natural ability and sometimes it’s easier just to coast.  It’s not putting any effort into a friendship or relationship because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable or sometimes they dare to not be perfect.  Sloth is now starting to look an awful lot like selfishness.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not man. Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” Colossians 3:23-24.

This verse has a lot of truth. I think sometimes we get stuck in mundane minimum wage jobs that we hate, relationships we are dying to escape with a family member, and attending a school where putting in our best effort doesn’t always translate over into As. You might be thinking right about now who even cares? If I’m still putting in some effort I’m good, right? Wrong. Here’s an example.

Say you have a job at a retail store this summer. On the weekends you find yourself constantly surrounded by foreign people who keep yelling S at the top of the lungs in your face to convey what size they need. Say one of them flags you down and asks you to get them a size in the midst of an afternoon of craziness. You are swamped so instead of going to the back to check, you wander around a bit and then inform them you don’t have the size. No one gets hurt and you have time to put away some more go backs from the fitting room. No one saw, so your reputation as a good worker hasn’t been tarnished, but God saw.

This is one of those times that God knowing our every move isn’t comforting. God alone knows when we’ve truly put in our best efforts and the times when we’ve slothed it up a bit. Just like the verse above says, we are serving HIM, not our cranky bosses, not our callous teachers, and not society. When we start believing that everything we do is a reflection of God, it becomes easier to put aside our cranky attitudes in order to serve Him. Being hard workers in every aspect of our lives can really help to point other people to Christ. There are definitely still many days where I want to passive aggressively give a Canasian the wrong size just because they’re annoying me, but then I remember that my work is a reflection of me, which becomes a reflection of God.  So the next time you are debating cutting a corner during the day just remember that God has always given us His best without fail, don’t you believe He deserves the same?

 

 

Desiring His Plan

“ Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

This has often been the first verse I would turn to when I felt like God wasn’t remembering how I wanted my life to go.  I had always looked at this verse and thought that God wasn’t giving me what I wanted now, but right there was evidence that He one day would provide me with what I wanted.  I had been so focused on God giving me what I wanted that I had neglected to realize that this verse was anything but about what I wanted. It is about what God wants and Gods desires for us.

Recently, I have not done such a great job of realizing or even thinking about what God wants or desires for me. Frankly it’s just not something I think about. As a college student sometimes my days are so full of meetings, requirements, homework, and friends that it’s hard to remember to listen for God’s voice. It’s too easy to be selfish; to have my mind be so focused on this month in front of me instead of thinking about the big plan. Am I doing all I can to glorify God every day? I don’t know that I am. I truly believe that everyone has a story worth knowing, but often I fail to take the time to ask the girl I’m brushing my teeth beside how her day was in the bathroom.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to waste my time worrying about what I want anymore, I want to worry about what God asks and desires of me.  We can do this by praying to God for guidance and asking Him to tune our hearts to His. This is most certainly not an easy thing to pray because God’s desires for us can take us into uncharted territories or call us to do things that make us feel uncomfortable. But aren’t we called to more? Aren’t we called to be lights and to be strong? God will never give us anything we can’t handle or ask something of us that will cause us to fail.

My goal is for each day to get a little closer to recognizing God’s voice, and what He is desiring for me to do that particular day, amidst the craziness of a college cafeteria or the buzzing crowd of girls on my floor. And the next time that my plans for myself are not fulfilled I will turn to this verse, but not for comfort that one day God will reward me, but with the hope that one day my desires and His desires will be so in tune with each other that I will no longer doubt. Because at the end of some of my very long days I know He is the one who has it figured out.

 

Eating A Slice of Humble Pie

One thing I think we as Christian’s struggle with would be the whole idea of living a lifestyle of humility. I myself have struggled with this because how easy is it when life gets tough or you get caught doing something you shouldn’t to point fingers at people who are worse off than yourself? I mean I can’t recall the number of times I’ve told my parents they should be lucky I haven’t ended up on 16 and pregnant or turned out like Miley Cyrus. Even walking around a college campus, it is literally too easy for me to pick things apart about people around me just because  I need a pick me up; and that is definitely something I have been working with God in order to improve. And when we have really excelled in an area how easy is it to want to rub that in everyone’s face or be really prideful? Too easy. The important thing one needs to remember when humbling themselves is that all our gifts and talents come from God. 1 Corthinans 4: 7 says,

“ Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did not receive it, who do you boast as if you did not?”

Paul hits it pretty well on the head; God gave us everything so we have nothing to boast in since we have never done anything on our own accord.

The one thing I think people have trouble with when learning to humble themselves is going to the complete other extreme. Humility is literally defined as having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. That does not mean beat myself up or think awful things about myself in order to truly put someone above myself. No! Not at all. C.S. Lewis puts it best with his quote,

“ Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”

When we truly humble ourselves we put others above ourselves and recognize their needs above our own. Don’t get me wrong I am a firm believer that everyone should be well aware of their individual strengths and weaknesses, but there is big difference between knowing what you are good at and telling everyone what you are good at. Let your actions do the talking, so that way you won’t need to build yourself up to people they will already know how great you are by the way you act.

Putting others first can always be difficult especially people who are not necessarily your favorite cup of tea. Prayer is definitely the key; asking God to help me humble myself has allowed me to step back and really try to put myself in another person’s shoes. God made all of us equally and loves us all the exact same amount no matter how much we might want to think otherwise. If God could humble himself enough to die on the cross for every single petty sin any of us has ever committed, don’t you think the least we can do is take our egos down a notch and put our neighbors above ourselves? Image

 

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait??

By far the hardest virtue to possess would have to be patience, and I do not believe that in my 18 years on Earth I have ever been remotely close to attaining this goal. Patience is just something I find rather lacking from my DNA, and anyone that knows me knows that I can barely wait for my friends to run back and grab their ID’s when a bunch of us are ready to go to dinner at my college, let alone wait for God’s timing for my life. No one likes to wait; especially in our internet driven world where many answers are easily at our fingertips, it seems like no one really has to. As a self-proclaiming control freak, I can honestly say that there are many things about my life I wish that God would just let me have or give me the answers to. Like for instance, when my future husband is going to come into the picture? Or what he wants me to do with my degree after I have finished college?  Yet, I am still no closer to having these questions answered than the Steelers are to winning the Superbowl this year.

One thing that can be of great consolation throughout our frustrating period of waiting for God’s timing would be what The Bible says about the subject. In chapter 8  of Ecclesiastes verses 5-6 it says “Whoever obeys his commands will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for everything, though a person may be weighed down with misery.” While that verse is rather bleak, it does capture a lot of the things I feel while I am waiting for God to provide me with answers. I may not be miserable but I sure am frustrated. Sometimes I just want to yell at God “Is it my turn yet? Because it seems like everyone else seems to have it all figured out.”

Romans 5:6 reads “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” This verse gives me slightly more hope as does the very quotable Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you”, declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope in a future. “ After hearing these verses it dawns on me that although I may not know what God is doing in my life right now, I can have faith that, that is the way God wants and intended it to be. All this waiting has helped me to trust God more because I know more than anything that He is a God who provides. Why should I waste my time worrying about boys liking me or if I am taking the right classes? He is the God of the universe and He is in more control of my future in a moment than I would like to think I am in a lifetime. I once heard it illustrated that our life is like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and we are watching it from a room on Fifth Avenue. The room has only one window and it does not allow us to lean out, so we can only see the parade as it is right in front of our eyes, we cannot see what is in front or behind us. God, however, is like parade manager, he sets all the floats up in the order they are supposed to go and takes great care to ensure that everything is in its proper place. When we are watching the Macy’s Day parade, do we ever question the order or think why would the parade manager set it up that way? No, we trust that he knows how to do his job; so why it is so hard to trust that God knows how to do His job?

I think that Joyce Meyer put it best, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Talk about an inspiring quote. Cue light bulb flicking on, so that is what God wants us to do while we are waiting, first be content with what we have. I think sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves that we overlook all the little blessings that God has placed right in front of our eyes. Secondly, seek him out, we are never going to get anywhere pouting about not having answers; we need to constantly be seeking God and wisdom, which leads to understanding. I am a hundred and ten percent certain that God will provide you with the answers you are looking for, he has done it countless times in my own life. The kicker is He does so on His terms and on His timing, not ours. So the next time you are ready to pull your hair out or scream loudly into a pillow because you have had it up to here with all this waiting, just remember that God has already planned every aspect of your life out. All this seemingly tedious waiting is nothing more than an ingredient that is necessary to complete the perfect dessert that will one day become our futures.

 

Would You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

As an auditory learner, when I was younger, I had a tendency to repeat what I heard. So it was not altogether shocking when I started to repeat some of the swear words I have been hearing, not knowing what they meant. Of course this made my mother a wreck and I definitely had my mouth washed out on various occasions for saying something I didn’t realize was wrong, not until I became older.

Swear words. We have all either heard or uttered them, and in most cases both. Swearing is something we are told not to do since a young age, but oftentimes swearing is exactly the thing kids do to rebel against their parents. Swearing is definitely a major conflict between people of Christian faith. Should we or should we not? It seems like both sides are pretty extreme. For instance, there are people who believe that saying the word hell is like sentencing yourself there. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who are Christians who swear every other word; where is the happy medium? And should we even be doing it?

Naturally I went to the bible to see what it says about swearing, if it had anything to say at all. It turns out the bible actually has a lot to say on the subject. Matthew 15:10-11 says, “ Hear and understand: it is not what goes into a person mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want anything defiling to come out of our mouths. Many say that saying the Lord name in vain ( Oh my God!!)  is the only way one really swears, Well, let’s just say I found a verse that disproved that theory. Ephesians 5:4, “ Let there be no filthiness or foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” I think that verse makes it pretty clear, just because the bible doesn’t specifically say don’t say these words it’s saying to have a clean mouth.

The truth is our mouth should be used for God’s glory and when we swear, make fun of someone else, or gossip we are not using it for its original purpose. I definitely don’t want my mouth to hinder me from being able to witness to someone. So how do we stop swearing and obscene talk?

Well it is not going to be easy, especially since swearing is such an easy habit to pick up but a hard habit to break. The first thing to do would be to pray.  My Sunday school teacher said that when she had a swearing problem she prayed that God wouldn’t let her swear. It worked; not only could she not swear she said when she tried to it was like she was choking on air. Secondly, surround yourself with music and people who swear less. I am not saying change your friends or even your favorite style of music, not at all. Maybe try telling your friends ” hey could you not say that word as much,” or listening to a censored version of a song.

Finally, for the ladies, not swearing is going to make you that much more attractive to guys because not to be old fashioned but it is way classy for girls to have clean mouths, just saying. Swearing is a hard habit to quit but if we are truly serious about being the lights of the world for God it is a necessary step we must take. I’m pretty sure as Christians we are called to follow Jesus and I’m pretty sure he didn’t swear and Mary never had to wash his mouth out with soap. So the next time you are frustrated and are just about to utter your favorite choice of swear word remember that God made your mouth to lift people up don’t let it bring your reputation down.

 

Why Is It So Hard To Encourage?

We all know that nothing brightens someone’s day more than being complimented on their outfit or told their good at something. Often times as girls we can be very hard on ourselves and have trouble admitting when we excel at something. That is why it is so vitally important to encourage and compliment those around you. Not to mention it is biblical, Hebrews 3 verse 5 says, ” But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. ” Since God can’t physically talk to us, a lot of times he uses other people to communicate his point across effectively. You might be told you are good at something because God wanted you to know that.

In today’s society we are taught to look out for ourselves first, and that complimenting someone else on their strengths is a sign of our weakness. That is such a lie. It takes absolutely nothing from us to tell someone that they look nice today or that they did a good job presenting their project. Also with so many girls being insecure in this day and age it has never been more important for us to encourage each other. We are after all, not to quote high school musical, all in this together. It is time we started being there for each other and acting like it. You never know, one simple compliment could help save someone’s life.

Now I’ve always been one to practice what I preach, so this year I have really focused more on trying to encourage others. I actually tried this thing where I complimented five people every day. I’m sure you’re thinking only five people? What a piece of cake? It was a lot harder than it sounds. It was so easy for me to get distracted or forget how many people I had complimented. But after awhile it became easier to the point where I do it without thinking. It really is such a blessing to see people’s faces light up because of something you told them. The truth is it isn’t really us doing the encouraging, it’s God using us. Hebrews 10 verse 24 reads, ” And let us consider how we may spur each other on toward love and good deeds.”  That really just says it all, as Christians we need to encourage each other, especially when times get tough. Hopefully by seeing our encouragement, Non-Christians will be able to experience God’s love.

As girls we all have those days where nothing seems to go right. Our hair looks like we didn’t brush it, we forgot to do our homework, we’re fighting with friends, and when we look in the mirror we just want to punch it. On days like that we really need encouragement. So remember, you never know when someone else is having a rough day and needs God’s help. We all have specific talents that God made us for. The problem is unless we encourage each other a lot of those talents go to waste.

So my challenge for you today is to try to encourage three people. It can be anything, from telling someone they had a good game to complimenting someone on their purse, no encouragement is too small. If God loved us so much why can’t we show a little more love to each other? I found this quote online that really struck me it says, ” You need to be aware of what everyone is doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help each other, everyone wins.” We aren’t becoming weaker when we encourage others; in fact our encouragement  might help someone along in accomplishing their dreams.