It’s Okay to Love Yourself

A few days ago I posted a question on the She Rises page story and on my personal Instagram and Facebook stories. The question was “What’s your biggest challenge as a Christian woman?” I got a lot of interesting answers. Some of them were expected and some of them were not. I decided I would take the next few weeks and address some of them.

I also decided to start with the ones that seemed to be the most common challenge…body image and loving ourselves.

It’s funny how as Christian women we can be kind and loving to every one, except ourselves.

It’s definitely something I’ve struggled with at some point in my life. I think it’s safe to say that every woman has as well. I will say that the older I get the less it’s been an issue for me. Have I overcome it entirely? Well, no, because there’s always a bad day here and there. But honestly, I don’t think it’s something I would say I have a struggle with anymore. And maybe that’s because somewhere over the last two years I made it a point to be nice to myself and to love myself. I also cleaned out my spiritual closet.

Body image is a different machine altogether. And it’s roots grow deep. I remember being on the school bus when I was about thirteen and a boy told me I was ugly. I didn’t ask him, or even like him. But bless his heart, he decided to give me his unsolicited opinion. He then went on to name all the other “ugly” girls in my grade. I remember being shocked by the names he was listing. I thought they were all pretty. I remember thinking that he was rude. And I remember that I didn’t think he was cute at all. But I didn’t tell him. I was raised better than that. Lol.

But I remember that when I got home, I wondered if he might be right. Then later on that afternoon I decided that what he said didn’t matter because he didn’t seem to be a very nice person. And judging by the list he made, I wasn’t in bad company. It seemed like his idea of ugly and mine, were very different. Also, I didn’t like him at all. He was just… Ugh.

Eight grade logic. It’s actually not bad. I’ve always been smart.

I’m sure I didn’t think I was all that pretty. I was a middle schooler. And those were not my best years. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. So, maybe I didn’t think I was all that pretty. But I certainly did not think I was ugly. And neither were any of the other girls he named.
If I would have liked him. It probably would have hurt my feelings. I would have cared if he didn’t think I was pretty.

I believe that was the moment I truly learned that beauty was certainly in the eye of the beholder. And I also believe that it’s hard to find beauty in anything when there’s bitterness or ugliness in the heart.

I said all of that to say this… “You can’t love something and not think it’s beautiful in some way. 

When we truly love ourselves, our body image drastically improves.

Just for a second, think about all the things and people that you love. And pick one of them, now name a few reasons why you love this person, this thing.

Now, do you possess any of those same qualities? I bet you do and I bet that if it’s a person you care way more about the inside than the outside.

And that’s the best way I know how to help you with body image. It won’t matter how much weight you lose. Trust me I’ve been overweight and too skinny and “just right” and hated myself all the same in each body. It all starts on the inside. Once you get that right, it overflows onto the outside.

Once you start being nice to yourself, in speech and action, you’ll see what I mean. Open your Bible and read what God says about you. And then start saying it to yourself.

Psalm 139:14 says that God created your inmost being, knitted you together in your mother’s womb, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God’s works are wonderful. And our souls know this.

But we forget that we are a beautiful masterpiece created by a loving God.

The Bible says more things like this:

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  1 John 3:1

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

God loves you. He looks at you and delights in you. He knows that you are not perfect. He knows you are struggling. Ask him to help you.

Now, I know from your replies that some of you have been mistreated. Some of you have been hurt in a way that I cannot fathom. The other day I was ministering to a young lady and she was telling me some of the horrible things that her ex husband used to say to her. And later when I was alone, I cried because I was so hurt for her. I was so hurt that someone said those things to her. And none of those things were true. And the person saying them, needed a lot of help and was obviously very broken. I’m not making excuses for them. I’m just stating facts.

So, whether you are struggling because of something someone said to you or you are struggling because of the things you say to yourself. Remember this, you are never going to feel good about yourself as long as  believe anything about yourself that does not line up with what God says about you.

You are never going to feel good about yourself as long as don’t speak life and kindness to yourself.

I’m thirty nine years old and I wish I would have learned this lesson twenty years ago.
And if you give this a try and you still can’t seem to have a healthy body image or love yourself then please reach out and talk to someone you trust.

And “flaws”… if you even want to call them that, they make you unique and they set you apart from the unrealistic, cookie cutter beauty standards of this terribly lost world.

God’s idea of beautiful, well, its you. And if it’s a heart issue and you need a new outlook or a better attitude… well He can certainly help with that, too.

Regardless of why your body image isn’t great and you are struggling to love yourself the way you should, remember that you are your own worst critic. Stop being so hard on yourself. For the most part, I bet you are doing the best you know can. . And if aren’t, then do better. Just a little bit at a time.

Pick one thing you like about yourself. And focus on that for a few days. Pick one thing that you want to let go of, some hurt, some issue with someone or yourself. Now, prayerfully ask God to help you heal and forgive. Ask Him everyday until you feel yourself healing.

Keep on doing this for the next month, and then for as long as it takes to clear it all out. It won’t happen overnight, but eventually you’ll start to see yourself differently.

I’m praying for you. God loves you. He wants you to love yourself. And so do I.

Forgiving My Father

Our time lines are about to be flooded with awesome photos of the best dads out there. The ones who work hard and provide. The ones that show up.

And I love that. I have that in my life, too.

But I’d like to take a moment to say to those of you who don’t have that kind of relationship with your father that I see you. And God sees you.

This month in particular is bittersweet for me. It brings the joy of both my sons birthdays. And it brings the anniversary of the day I became a widow. And then in the midst of all that is Father’s Day and my late Father’s birthday.

June and I have a complicated relationship. Kind of the like the relationship I had with my father for the first twenty years of my life.

And let me just say that forgiving him and reconciling that relationship was one of the best decisions I ever made. God taught me so much through that relationship. I’m so glad I reached out to him all those years ago.

It was hard. I was scared. I wasn’t sure how he would react to me calling him up out of the blue. I mean, he knew where I was and I knew where he was… and for alot of years we had people communicating on our behalf. Isn’t that ridiculous?

So much wasted time. Every situation is different. I’m not saying that you should reach out to someone toxic or dangerous. But my dad was neither of those. He was just a really nice guy who was trying to do the right thing.

He stood back and let another man raise me. A really good man by the way. He didn’t want to come in and out of my life. So he made a decision or maybe the decision was made partly for him, and he stayed out of my life.

Now no one ever asked me what I wanted. And I never got a choice about it until I turned eighteen and started to realize that I wanted a say in it. I wish I could say that I immediately reached out but it took me a couple more years to muster up the courage to call him up.

But one night I did call him right up out of the blue. It was fall and I remember standing on the porch in the chilly night air and saying “I’m just gonna call him and see what he says.”

I won’t go into a lot of detail about that first conversation because it’s so very special to me. But I will tell you that it was clear that he never expected that phone call from me to ever happen.

I remember that once I told him who I was it took us a both a few minutes to get our bearings. If you’ve never had to call a stranger and say, “This is your daughter.” You won’t understand the magnitude of waiting for a response. I remember my heart almost pounded out of my chest.

I can still hear his voice say “Oh, wow, Cassie. I’m gonna need just a minute.” And I remember saying, “Yeah, me too.” I still tear up when I think about it.

And he was so awesome. And that just made me like him so much… and later it made me so mad at him. I know that seems crazy but it’s true. See, once I realized that he was so awesome, I was really upset that I missed out on having him in my daily life growing up. It would have been so different if he was awful. But he wasn’t.

And we worked on building a friendship and it wasn’t always easy. He was over 1200 miles away. He was on the road with his band. He had a life. I had a life.

There were lots of tear filled conversations, mostly me crying and trying to work out twenty years of feeling abandoned. And him trying desperately to figure how to make up for it. He couldn’t. I learned eventually to release him from the responsibility of making up for it.

I hope he eventually stopped feeling guilty about it. But I never asked him, so I don’t know.

A few months after that first phone call, I found myself standing in front of him one night before his show. It’s something I’ll never forget. I had pictures of him growing up. But I had not seen him since I was about two and I couldn’t remember him at all.

So there we were. It was surreal. Music was the thing that took him away from me. But somehow it was also the thing that connected us. I watched him play that night and I couldn’t believe how talented he was.

I wouldn’t take anything for the fifteen years or so I got before he passed away. They weren’t perfect. There were times when we both could have tried harder. But I got to have a relationship with him.

He passed away about five years ago. And there are some things that I didn’t say. There are some things that he didn’t say.

But there are so many things we did say.

So, if you find yourself wondering if you should find your father, call your father, forgive your father. My advice is to do it. Life is short. And we can’t always be without regret, it’s part of life. Maybe it will go well, maybe it won’t. But at least you can say that you tried.

My dad was awesome and talented. He was so intelligent and such a deep thinker. He would give me such amazing advice. I grew up drawn to music. Before I even knew why, I had and still have a love and appreciation for it. It’s because of him. It’s the thing that always reminds me that I’m my father’s daughter.

I’m so thankful that God opened my heart toward him. I’m so thankful I forgave him and had the chance to get to know him for myself.

I don’t know if you think you want to do the same thing. I don’t know your situation or what kind of person you would find yourself dealing with… but I will tell you to pray about it and let God lead you. Forgiveness is such a gift. It’s a beautiful thing to forgive someone. It’s so beautiful to say it to someone who feels like they don’t deserve it. It’s beautiful to watch them accept it. 💙

It’s a reflection of God’s love. He forgives us when we don’t deserve it. And forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. Sometimes you can’t have a healthy relationship with people, even if you want to. But you can forgive them and you can tell them.

Because one day you’ll wish you said what you wanted to say before it was too late to say it. I know this to be absolutely the truth. 💙

I’m praying God will lead in the direction and that you will be able to do whatever it is you need to do.

Love in Christ,

Cassie

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6|niv

He Saves Us

“You feel sad because you think you’ve lost something. But actually you should be happy because you’ve been saved from it.” -unknown

“Sometimes He saves us from people, sometimes things. Sometimes God snatches us up and out of the way of harm. Sometimes He rescues us from circumstances.
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But I know sometimes it feels like He doesn’t. The Bible tells us we will have trials. But I believe that whenever I must endure something difficult or uncomfortable, that somehow that season is saving me, too, in some way that I cannot comprehend in this flesh.
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Perhaps the hard times save me heartache because I learn from them. They teach me to trust God, to let go. They remind me I’m strong, fierce, brave. So I will always believe that God has a beautiful, bigger picture. And I will cling to the knowledge that His best will always find me eventually.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me to remember that anything that makes its way to me, must first pass through Your hands. Help me yield to your plan, your guidance, your discipline, your direction. Thank you for your love and grace.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Romans 8:27-37|NIV

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Mini Morning Devo

“Stop thinking about it so much. You’re breaking your own heart.” -unknown

“It’s really difficult when we are hurting not to think about it. We wonder why we are having to endure heartbreak, or pain. We find ourselves replaying conversations or scenarios.
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But it’s so important to think about the good things to come. It’s important to focus on healing and let God do His work.
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The Bible says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8| NIV
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Focus on the lovely things that God has given you and Praise Him for the healing only He can give a broken heart!” 💜

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please help me to remember that you made my heart and you know best. I pray that you will help me yield to the healing you want to do in me and help me let you do it.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Shoulda, Coulda… Woulda.

What’s the moment you run back to in your mind? We’ve all got one. Maybe you run back because you think you could have changed something? Maybe if you said something different or made a different decision, would life be any different?

I have a couple of these moments. And I’m learning how to let go of the illusion that things could have been any different.

One of these moments was right before my husband coded and died very unexpectedly. The doctors brought me in before moving him to the ICU to see if my voice would calm him down. He wouldn’t let them place the NG tube.

I sat down on the edge of the bed and I started to talk to him. He opened his eyes and I tried to explain what was taking place. I told him he was going to the ICU and then soon, into surgery. He was groggy from medication. I think he was finally getting some relief from the pain.

I remember that when he opened those blue eyes I said, “I love you.” And he said “I love you, too.” And I said “Let them do what they need to do, okay?” He nodded.

I stepped back and they finished doing what they needed to do. They wheeled his bed out to go and I remember him saying he couldn’t breathe. The nurse told him he had oxygen and to take some deep breaths.
I remember he said it again and then he gasped.

I remember machines beeping. I remember people scrambling. I remember hearing them yell to call code. I remember it like it lasted forever but it was only seconds. It’s one of those slow motion replays. I remember something told me to get out of their way. I ran out into the hall.

I run back to that moment on occasion. I remember when I used to live that moment over and over. I don’t do that anymore. It never changes. It’s still heartwrenching and he still dies. I still have to plan his funeral. I still have to live without him.

I love you is one of the last things I said to him. I would never change that. But sometimes I wish I would have said more. There was so much I could have said if I had known it was our last conversation.

And so there it is, our last moments, permanently etched into my heart and mind. Sometimes I ask myself, “What would you have said to him if you had known it was the end?” And let me tell you that it’s fifteen years later and I still don’t know.

I mean I’ve imagined the tear filled goodbye. But I can never get all the words out. I can never really say everything I want to say. It’s impossible to put into words.

So I stopped trying to because I knew that it wasn’t going to change anything. And after a while I realized that part of me is relieved that I didn’t know it was coming. I don’t know how I could have ever said goodbye. And I’ve realized that God knew that too.

I don’t know where you keep running back to my friend. I don’t know if it’s a happy moment or one that makes your heart break all over again. I don’t know if you said what you had to say or you couldn’t say it. Either way it’s hard.

I do know that the more you run back, the more you’ll need to. The past is funny like that. It beckons and then it offers nothing new. I’m not saying that you have to stop completely. I’m just saying that the truth is that if you were given some sort of miraculous do over, there’s a good chance that you wouldn’t change anything that you could control.

Life is full of beginnings and endings. And we don’t always know which threshold we are standing on. Eventually, we learn that life is full of things and people that mostly come and go, and we don’t really control any of it. And once we wrap our minds around this it makes more sense to trust that God has some bigger plan. A plan that won’t make sense in this life.

So, maybe we’ll always run back to the moments that shaped us, the ones that we felt so deeply that they are part of who we are. Those “shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments that we all hold on to so tightly. But I just want to remind you that when you run back nothing is going to change. You’re just going to feel it all over again. And I guess that makes sense if it’s a happy place. But I honestly believe we revisit more tears than laughter.

I want to encourage you to look to the future. Forward motion is always best. We don’t hold the power to change the past. And the truth is that we don’t even know what’s best for us anyway, most of the time.

In Genesis 19:17, the angel warns Lot’s wife not to look back and she does and she turns into a pillar of salt. In Proverbs 4:25, we’re told to let our eyes look straight ahead. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God says He’s gonna do a new thing. And in Luke 9:62,  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

It’s really difficult to plow straight rows if you’re constantly looking backwards.

I don’t believe it’s sinful to think about the past. But I do believe God wants us to be more concerned with the present and the future. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself living back there. And that’s not really living at all.

My prayer for you this evening is that you will won’t let the past haunt you. I pray that you will remember before you run back there again that it’s going to be just as you left it. My prayer for you is that you will lift those beautiful eyes to the hills and brace yourself for the incredible future God has planned for you.

Love in Christ,
Cassie




Don’t Beg For The Key

“Trust God. Let Him close doors.
Let Him open doors. And when He closes them…don’t start begging for the key.

As I was sitting in my quiet time early this morning that is the thought that came to me. And then as blog posts normally do, my mind and heart flooded with words.

I’ve been a little distracted. I’ve had writer’s block for a little while now. So I was relieved to feel inspired to get back to it.

If we’re all being honest, we’ve all begged God to open a door. Some doors that we know He closed, others that we desperately just want Him to open for the first time.

And sometimes those doors aren’t opportunities, jobs, or destinations. Sometimes it’s information, wisdom, a tiny glimpse into the future.

Is this just me?

You know the scripture that says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

(James 1:5|NIV)

I may be wearing that one out. And I might be pushing it a little too much. I know that God can’t reveal everything to me. And that’s not what I want. But I do find myself wanting more information than He’s willing to give at times. Thank goodness He’s patient.

Lately I’ve found myself begging for the key to a door that I know isn’t a destination but just would certainly give me confirmation about whether I should take a detour.

And friends, I don’t know if you’ve ever prayed, God please just give me a sign.” This is a prayer that I don’t pray. I haven’t prayed that prayer in years. But lately, I’m finding myself throwing that one in at the end of my prayers.

A couple days ago, I was driving along and I saw something. Something that to me, actually felt like a God wink. You know those little things that you could chalk up to coincidence but there are so many other factors that it just seems like the timing is God for sure.

Well, I had one of those moments. It was almost like God let me peek behind the door for two seconds.

So, I went back to God with it. And I felt in my spirit so strongly that it was God giving me confirmation about the thing I had been praying about.

But I still found myself asking for confirmation of that, too. He hasn’t given me that. It seems ridiculous that I think I need that, too. And this is probably why He doesn’t let us peek behind doors too often. When I realized that He gave me what I wanted, or at least a vague hint, and it only made things worse… I had to repent. It was a lesson I needed. Honestly, one I learned a long time ago, but apparently forgot.

Deep down I know when God is speaking to me. Sometimes I find myself wading in doubt. I knew that I was asking for more than I needed to know. And once I got the confirmation that I wanted. It was too much and too soon. I was overwhelmed.

As always, I’m a work in progress.

This morning I want to encourage you to let wherever God takes you and whatever God shows you in this season.. be enough.

Let it be enough.

I can look back on my life and say He knows what He’s doing. He knows that too much information, too much wisdom in these human hands creates more problems than solutions.

He reveals enough to keep us motivated. It’s up to us to keep going. When He opens a door… go. When He closes one… say thank you, Lord. And when you feel uncertain, pray for direction, don’t start begging for keys to doors you aren’t ready for…

The right thing in the wrong season is the wrong thing. But the right thing in the right season, well that’s miraculous.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your guidance and love. Please help us to always trust that your ways are higher. Help us when we are compelled to run ahead of you. Help us wait for you to open and close the doors in our life.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

It’s Not Cancelled…

“Oh, what we could be if we stopped carrying the remains of who we were.” – Tyler Knott Gregson

Moses, David, Rahab the prostitute, the Samaritan woman at the well… just to name a few.

God used them in amazing ways despite their pasts, despite who they were or what they were working out within themselves.

He was well aware of their pasts. He was well aware of their weaknesses. He knew their struggles. He knew them. And despite all this, they still carried out His purpose for their lives.

God didn’t stop and decide to choose someone else to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He could have. But He didn’t. And in Exodus 4:13, Moses basically asks to tag out. Asking God if He could just send someone else. (I’m paraphrasing)

Sometimes it’s tempting to ask God if we can tag out too. “Send someone else, Lord. I don’t have it all together, I probably won’t be able to do it. Seems like a pretty lofty goal, I think we both know I shouldn’t aim that high. I could never reach, Lord. I don’t have what it takes. And you remember who I used to be, Lord.”

We often forget that God can’t work through the “perfect” people. Not because He lacks the ability but because they don’t leave any room for Him. He prefers us ragamuffins. His strength works wonders through our weaknesses.

God didn’t decide to have Samuel anoint one of David’s older brothers. They were all right there. But David was the chosen one. And he certainly made his share of mistakes, but God still used Him.

And Rahab… my goodness. God used the fact that men were often seen “frequenting her house” to carry out His plan. She hid the Israelite spies, and found favor with God and she and her family were spared. And in Matthew she’s mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

God gave Rahab grace. It’s beautiful how He looks at hearts. It’s overwhelming how He waits for us to hand Him our sins. It’s ridiculous how we think He wants to hold them over our heads. We do that on our own.

When Jesus intentionally sought the Samaritan woman at the well, being there at the time she went to draw water (to avoid the other women because of her lifestyle) it’s clear that she is the person He wanted to use to tell others about the Living Water.

Jesus saw her sin. Jesus still actively pursued her and showed her love. He then sought to reconcile her to Him. Jesus didn’t tell her how unworthy she was, because she wasn’t unworthy.

All of these people at some point had to be carrying the guilt and shame of their past sins. Some of them even carrying the shame of their current struggles.

But God used them anyway. He wants to use you, too. I know you think He can’t. You may even be audacious enough that you’ve decided that He won’t use you because of __________________.

Just fill in the blank with whatever it is that you think you’ve done or struggle with. The thing you have decided is so terrible that God has cancelled your purpose.

God hasn’t cancelled your purpose. And guess what, you can’t cancel it either. Trust me, I have certainly tried. If you haven’t repented for whatever it is… right now is the perfect time.

And if you have repented. Please stop dragging it around and dwelling on it. That’s just the enemy making you think you have to keep punishing yourself.

Remember how scripture tells us that on the cross, Jesus said. “It is finished.” Well, it’s finished. All the stuff you did or didn’t do, buried with Christ. So, let it go. In Christ, you are made new.

There’s freedom in laying it all down at His feet and running to embrace your purpose. God created you to be amazing.

So, go be amazing. Reach for the stars.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 (NLT)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive us for not accepting your forgiveness when you offer it to us. Help us each become the person you created us to be. I ask that you show us how to get out of our own way. We hand you our struggles, our sins, and the remains of who we used to be. Guide us forward in the freedom of your love and forgiveness. Help us embrace the beautiful purpose you have for us. Help us to remember that our past cannot stop Your future.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Morning Devotion: Only God Can Complete You.

The longing that you feel, the empty spaces within you… whether you are single or in a relationship… will never be filled by another person, even if they are perfect for you. Because you were created with a soul that longs for its Creator…and if you will let Him, He will complete the work He began in you. And as He begins to do this, you will feel more alive and full of purpose than you ever have. You’ll be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee, girlfriend, a better human. Because what you’re looking for, what you really long for is the place where your yearning meets His purpose.

… You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

“Dear Heavenly Father, today I pray that you will help me remember that I am only complete in You. Help me stop chasing everything else and run as fast as I can to You.”

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Walking Beautifully.

“People aren’t as beautiful as they look, as they walk or as they talk. They are only as beautiful as they love, as they care as they share.” -Unknown

This morning as I sat in the quiet enjoying the sound of heavy rain pounding on my roof (finally!)…

I was thinking about how we get flooded with ads, commercials, etc. that focus solely on what’s on the outside. Makeup, skincare, clothes, perfume, shoes…and it goes on and on. This world wants women (and men, too) to focus on a standard of beauty that is completely fabricated and superficial.
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But I’m determined as a woman, a living sacrifice, a temple of the Most High God to live focused more on the inside than the outside. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look nice. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. But I think it’s a waste to be beautiful on the outside and ugly within. There’s something wrong with obsessing over the outside and never taking time to let God work on the inside. And if I’m being honest, when people look at me, I really don’t want them to see me at all. I want them to see Jesus. 2019 has been a long, hard year so far for me. And while I think I keep a good balance of focus on my spiritual health, this year God has pressed farther into my heart, and shined light on some things I hadn’t noticed. I had been living life striving to be nice and loving to everyone, but myself. And that’s because I had some people pleasing tendencies. And while it seems that might be off topic of this post, it really is not. Because people are only as beautiful as they love, care, share.. Dying to your wishes and trying to please everyone isn’t beautiful, and it’s really not living your truth. Loving others means being completely honest about how you feel and what you want to do….
If you are spending a lot of time on looking put together, pleasing everyone, exhausted. Then are you really walking beautifully?
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Let’s live a balanced life. Let’s say no when we need to, and let’s stop trying to please everyone.

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God’s word asks us in Galatians, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

People pleasing doesn’t serve God. In fact, it does the opposite. We are called to please God.

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Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word. Thank you for helping us prioritize what matters most to You. Help us walk beautifully, in Your Truth, in Your Love. Help us speak our truth in love. Help us surrender to the work you want to do within the corners of our hearts. Help us focus on hearts not outward appearance. Help us focus on what you call beautiful.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Completely Surrendered.

{SURRENDER} ~ I remember a long time ago when that word scared me. It was many years ago. It was before I came to fully trust Jesus Christ. I can recall sitting in church, youthful and full of plans for “my life”. I heard lots of sermons about surrender. I heard lots of talk about laying down your life for Christ. As an older teen, handing the reins over to the guy in the sky was an outrageous concept. “What if I don’t like His plans?” No thanks. Even after I came to salvation, I was yet to realize He actually would require complete surrender. I also didn’t know that He would walk me through the valley to the place where I would realize I had no business making plans that were not filtered through His will. I had no idea His plans, they were the best plans.
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The Bible tells us in Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
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Yes and Amen. I want that. I want nothing but God’s GOOD and PLEASING WILL for my life, for the lives of my family and friends. I want that for everyone.
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But only Christ gives that, and it requires an individual to completely surrender their hearts and lives to Him.
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Sometimes we give our hearts to Jesus, but we keep our bodies, or we keep our plans. We say we love Jesus, but we can dress however we want. We say we love Jesus, but we don’t need to pray about life decisions. We say we love Jesus but we don’t need to pray… at all.
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We can’t keep some things and toss a prayer of salvation at Him. He’s so patient and He helps us work this stuff out. New Christians often need a little time to learn and grow. But if we have been “Christians” for years and our fruit isn’t totally obvious, well, we lack surrender.
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My prayer this morning is that you will completely surrender every nook and cranny of your heart and life to Jesus, so that you can experience His good and pleasing will for your life.