Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Choosing to be Bold | Different |

Being different isn't a quality that typically gains a lot of respect.
No, being different in today's world is often looked down on and laughed at. 
Sometimes causing us as Christians to shrink away from our beliefs and hide behind our insecurities. We're human. We want to be accepted. 

Lately I've been learning about what it means to be bold. A verse that has been my "get me through senior year" verse is Hebrews 10:39:

"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed. But of those who have faith and are saved."

We are NOT of those who shrink back. That sentence alone gives me so much courage. 
Unfortunately, in most circumstances I'm probably better at shrinking back than I am at being bold. I mean sure, I've never directly denied Christ. But we all shrink back and deny Him in our own little ways every day. 

Like when everyone around us is talking about another person in a negative way. It's easy to "shrink back" and join in even when we know that's not the kind of person we are called to be. It's easy to find negative qualities in someone else.
It's not easy to be bold and stand up for that person. Or maybe even just walk away and refuse to be apart of it.
But it's the right thing to do.

Or in any circumstance that you're around others who may not strive to live the kind of life that you do. It's easy to shrink back. Sure, you don't have to take part in what they're doing/saying. But how often do we just sit back and watch what's going on around us instead of choosing to be bold and try to put a stop to it. 

I want to make a difference in people's lives. That's something I've been passionate about for as long as I can remember. 
But I'm learning that in order to make a difference, I have to BE different. 

I fall short of this all the time. It's all too natural to take the easy way out. But I'm praying He will give me a spirit of courage; that He'll teach me to be bold in all my words and actions. 

We have to make the choice. When controversial situations arise, are we going to choose to shrink back and hide behind our fear? Or are we going to choose to boldly step forward with a spirit of confidence, courage, and faith? 

Courageous by Casting Crowns is a pretty well known song from the movie Courageous that came out in 2011. 
One of the lines from the song that really stands out to me from that song is "may the watchers become warriors." 
In my own words, may the ones who shrink back become bold. 

This is something He's been teaching me for a while now. I am not of those who shrink back and are destroyed. But of those who have faith and are saved. I am called to be courageous and confident in Him. Boldy stepping out and allowing Him to shape me into a woman after His heart. 

I fail. You fail. 
We all fail and will continue to, but thank goodness we serve a God who doesn't hold anything against us. 
May you have the courage daily to wake up and choose to live boldy for our King. Even when it's not easy to be different. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Decisions || Every Step of the Way

174 days till I am 18. Since I am almost an adult, I am facing a lot of the new challenging decisions and doubts that commonly come along with early adulthood. 

The biggest one being college. The decision that I've made I have only shared with a couple people. But to come out and say it, I've decided not to go to college. 


I know, I know, that's not how the system works.. 
You're supposed to go to school kindergarden through graduation then continue on with your education elsewhere in order to be accepted by society. 
But frankly, I don't really care if society accepts it or not. 

What I think: 
Education is not bad. College is not bad. We are blessed to have so many different schools and organizations dedicated just to our learning. If I did want to go, I have endless options and oppurtunities. But it is not for everyone. 

This is something I have been praying about for a very long time. The last year or so I lost my pull towards going to college. Not out of fear, lack of motivation or anything of that sort. Some things simply can't be explained except for something I feel in my heart to be right. 

When I was making this decision, fear that I was going to miss out kept creeping up on me. College is such the normal thing to do that I could already hear all the comments people would make to my parents and I when they heard of my decision. 

But other people's opinions don't rule my life. 

No, I'm not going to sit around my house, bored out of my mind and call it a life. 
I'm going to create a life. It may not include professors, classes, school events and a dorm room.. but I will be content and happy knowing that my Jesus is leading me every step of the way. 

Once I made my decision the fear was still there. This time taunting me with "if you don't go, what ARE you going to do?" 
No one wants to feel like a failure. But the more I prayed and asked him to help me fully trust Him, the more He worked inside of me. He's been teaching me the beauty in letting go and trusting Him.
Earlier today I was looking back at some of my old posts and I read what I had written in my post "joy in confusion" 

I wrote: " I find joy and beauty in the mystery He is unfolding little by little right in front of me. 
When I am scared, I only need to readjust and remember, I am not in control. I don't need to know. 
For when I don't understand, I only have more reason to cling even tighter to my Jesus. To allow Him to teach me, to guide me, and to hold me through out my every move."

That's the mindset I want to keep. 
I am not in control. 
 I will never be in control. 
Not knowing what will happpen is perfectly okay.
 He's got me. 

So even though my next step is unknown at the moment. I serve an all knowing God that already knows my next step and the next thousand after that. Better yet, He is taking those steps WITH me. I have NO reason to fear, NO reason to doubt, and NO reason to be in control. 

Psalm 56:3 says "When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" 

People are going to make unnecessary comments to me and I can't promise they're always going to sit well with me. But I will continually pray for courage, wisdom, and a heart ready to chase after His will for my life.
 I will trust that He is ALWAYS walking with me. Therefore, I will not be afraid.

I found this quote on Pinterest that I loooove.  

So I'm ready to jump into whatever He has in store for me. Whether it be something big or something small. I want to spend my whole life pouring myself out to serve my Jesus and all the people He puts on my path. I want HIM to accept my life. So whether or not anyone else does is.. well, unimportant. 

I just thought I'd share my decision and my story behind it. 
Anywho, like my Facebook page to the right or at the link below if you haven't already! :D

God bless! :) 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Purity | A Way of Life

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)

My parents gave me a purity ring for my last birthday with this verse engraved on it. Ideally a purity ring is a symbol of a commitment not to have sex out of wedlock. But lately I've been thinking a lot about what exactly it means to be pure. Purity is not a one time decision, it is a way of life.

When thinking about it the other day, I somewhat felt ashamed with that ring on my finger knowing many of my actions have been driven by selfishness and unholiness. 
But He reminded me that He is continually renewing me and making me pure. 

After thinking about it for a few days, the shamefulness in wearing that ring no longer exists. In fact, seeing that ring on my finger means just a little bit more to me than it did before. Let me share with you why: 

To start, I looked up what the word purity means. The online definition says purity is the condition or quality of being pure; freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc..

In the world today purity is a very hard thing to maintain. We are constantly having evil thrown at us in our daily atmospheres. We can't just want to be pure, we have to choose to be pure. Despite how much evil and impurity is out there to catch us.

But then what? What is choosing to be pure? 

It all starts from within. I love the verse from Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers, 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." (Emphasis my own)

To paraphrase, we are called to "think holy thoughts"

Another verse I really love is Luke 6:45, where Luke says "..for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks"

So what we put into our hearts/minds, is what is going to come out.

....and that's where the "purity is a way of life" part comes in. We have to choose what we allow into our heart/mind. Because what we put in, is what's going to come out. In our speech, our actions..everything.

One thing I will admit I haven't always appreciated, is that my parents have done a good job at monitoring the television shows/movies/songs/internet use that my siblings and I intake. 

The older I get, I'm understanding (and appreciating) why they made the decisions about what we put into our heads that they did. I'm learning to make those decisions myself. I'm learning how to choose purity. 

The ring on my left ring finger not only symbolizes my commitment to wait, but my commitment to live a life of a purity.
Now of course, I'm human. Not every action I make is made with the thought of being pure in mind. Unfortunately, that's the case more often than not. But thanks to my wonderful Jesus, I am CONSTANTLY being made pure through His blood. (Jesus to the rescue!!)

1 John 1:7 says "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin."

Then in verse 9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from unrighteousness."

He is making me new daily through the blood of Jesus Christ. That's something I hear a lot and maybe don't always take it for what it's worth. But like, isn't that actually really super cool??
Every single day I am given the chance to start completely over. I'm given the chance to choose purity. I am given the chance to walk with Purity himself. 

In closing. one of my favorite verses I like to read along with my prayer time is Psalm 51:10 
"Create in me a PURE heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" 

Pray that verse this week. I encourage you to really spend some time thinking about what it means to be pure. Then ask yourself if the actions in your own life are following that definition. 

Anywho, my Jesus is amazing. and this walk with Him is one heck of an adventure. 
God bless. (: