Saturday, February 13, 2016

With Every Act of Love

"God put a million doors in the world for His love to walk through. One of those doors is you." 
(With Every Act of Love, Jason Grey)

One of those doors is you. One of those doors is ME.

That line of the song always hits me hard. God designed me for His purpose. His love can be reflected off of me in SO many different ways if only I allow Him to work in my life.

Matthew 5:16 says "…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

One thing He has taught me is that sharing my faith doesn't necessarily always mean pulling someone aside and telling them all about Jesus and forcing it on them. But sharing my faith with someone can be shown just as easily as by simply BEING Jesus to them. Anyone can sit there and listen to facts about faith. Which yes, sharing the facts IS a part of it. But I think truly being the hands and feet of Jesus is the best way to reflect Christ in our lives.

When people are truly living out being a follower of Christ, it's going to show in every area of their life. People will look at them and think "What makes them so.. Different?"
They will want to know the source of your kindness.

A quote I hear quite often in my youth group, church, and various youth activities is "People won't care what you know until they know you care."

It's all about how we treat people. Another part of the song mentioned above that I absolutely love is: "Jesus let us carry You.
Alive in us, Your light shines through
with every act of love.

God IS love. So in every single act of love, big or small, HE is shining through. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)
So every act of goodness and love IS showing God because He IS goodness and love. (Pretty cool, huh?)

While I'm working the window at Chickfila, I've experienced MULTPLE times when someone will pay for whoever is in line behind them. Then when the next person gets to the window and finds out their meal is free, it makes my day by how happy they usually are. THAT is showing Christ.
That person may never see you, never be able to thank you, but they are able to feel the love and kindness you gave to them by something so simple.

The simplest deeds can speak louder than anything you could say.

None of this is to discourage you to never verbally share your faith. Definitely do that! Pray for opportunities to tell people of Christ and the work He has done in your own life. Pray for the right words to speak when those times do come. But also, never stop praying for opportunities to BE Christ. To BE goodness and love in someone's life. Because once they know you truly care, they'll probably be interested in the "why" and that's when you can tell them all about your Jesus. :)

I've decided this week to find one tiny thing every single day to show Christ in me through an act of love. I am praying God will show me this week exactly how He wants to use me.
Maybe by paying for someone's meal, by complimenting someone, or even just simply smiling at someone who looks like they could use a smile with their day.

I challenge you this week to look for ways to BE Jesus. Big and small. Pray for opportunities. Open your eyes to the broken world around us, and be a little healing in someone's life this week. It can impact someone a lot more than you think.

This blog post is also featured on my new friend Katy's blog :D
She has lots of neat encouraging posts and a super cute instagram account. (Be.happy_101)  Check her out and give her a follow! 

God bless, 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Waiting on God

Waiting. Pretty much no one in the history of ever likes to wait for something we want. Especially in the world today. We want, want, want! We want and we want it now!

Waiting is hard. Waiting isn't fun. Waiting takes patience, and who has time for that?? 

But waiting on God is a lot harder than waiting for your food to come when you're super hungry after a long day of work. 

Waiting on God is an art. Something to work at constantly. It takes patience, faith, trust, and truly letting go of whatever it is we need God to take control of.

I'm almost 18. Life is beginning to change for me and it's scary. I pray all the time for guidance of what decisions to make about my future and if the ones I'm making are the right ones. It's scary. It's hard. I pray and pray and pray, and for quite a while I thought I wasn't getting any answers. 
But then I realized I WAS getting answers, I just wasn't listening for them. I was only listening to what I wanted to hear. 
But God is like that one best friend you've had forever that has no filter around you and no matter what you want to hear from them, they're always going to tell you what you need to hear from them. 

God hit me right in the face with some stuff lately. He's taught me that it isn't at all about what I want and when I want it. (shocker, right??)
I'm learning to wait on Him. I'm learning the art of patience, faith, and trust. I am learning to fully let go of my life and surrender it to Him. 

My usual experience with "waiting on God" has been more of me praying for my wants every night and losing patience and getting frustrated when things don't seem to play out the next week or two. I want Him to work and I want Him to work now! 
But God is never not working. He is always doing something whether I see it or not. He is ALWAYS doing His part. So I need to always do mine. 

The song "While I'm waiting" by John Waller speaks to me SO much. I can name multiple times of my life I have listened to this song and did a little perspective changing on my situation.. It displays the attitude we should have while we're waiting on God. 
Normally when I share lyrics I only post a line or two, but this one is too good not to share the whole. Read through these lyrics and really soak up what they mean.

"I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You, Lord
I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You Lord, though it is painful
 But patiently, I will wait.

I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting, I will serve You.
While I'm waiting, I will worship.
While I'm waiting, I will not faint
I will be running the race, even while I wait.

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You, Lord
I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You Lord, thought it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait."

Aren't those lyrics touching? The story behind John Waller writing that song is about him waiting on God for seventeen whole years for something he thought he was ready for right then.
We've all heard a thousand times that God's timing is not our timing. 

So when I pray and pray and pray and still don't seem to get any answers, I will learn to serve Him, to worship Him, and to keep running the race even.while.I.wait.
I will learn to move ahead bold and confident, taking every step in obedience. Because as long as I am doing my best to put Him first in my life, He's going to let the rest play out. I don't need to know all the answers, I need to trust that my God's got it all under control. 

If you've read quite a few of my posts, then you've learned by now that I really struggle with fear in the whole "future" area of my life. Learning to let go and fully trust Him is extremely hard. It's scary not knowing what exact steps to take. But I'm learning just how much He really wants me to let go. He wants to take this burden from me. He wants to lead me. He wants my heart and my trust 100%.
All I have to do is surrender it all to Him. To say "You lead." 
He wants me to trust that He still hears me even when I don't hear Him. 

"I wait for The LORD, my soul does wait. And in His word I do hope." (psalm 130:5)

"Our soul waits for The LORD; He is our help and our shield." (psalm 33:20)

"Wait for The LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for The LORD." (psalm 27:14)

I'm waiting on you, God. Do ya thing! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Love || Choosing it

In honor of Valentines day coming upon us, I decided to write a post about love and what love means to me.

If you were to ask me to describe what I think love is in one sentence, it would be to forget about yourself.

That's all love is, really. Forgetting about yourself and putting someone else above you.

"This is how we know what love is: because Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."
(1 john 3:16, NIV)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" 
(John 15:13, NIV)

I've heard those verses a lot but I hadn't really thought a whole lot about them till lately. Whenever I read them, I only ever thought about the mission field, the army, and all the various areas where people were physically laying down their lives for other children of God. Which yeah, it fits for that. 
But I've learned that laying down my life, doesn't necessarily always mean literally laying down my life. But maybe just setting aside my own desires for the benefit of someone else.

My entire faith is based off of the love that was shown so graciously to me. But yet so many times I turn around and refuse to extend that same love that was shown to me. I am learning (slowly!) to lay down my own life, because Christ laid down His life for me.

I couldn't write a blog post about love and not include 1 Corinthians 13. The looove chapter! ;) I know you've probably all heard this twenty three thousand times. But while you read this, really think about what it means. Think about the traits of love and question yourself if you're living out those traits.

"Love is patient
Love is kind
It does not envy
It does not boast
It is not proud
It does not dishonor others
It is not self seeking (!!!)
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil
Love rejoices in the truth
It always protects
It always trusts
Always hopes
Always perseveres."

Side note: That verse right there is why it really amuses (irritates, actually.) me when young couples spill out  "I love you" way too easily without committing to the traits in this verse.
Being IN love with someone and truly loving them are two very different things. Love is a big deal, people!!

But I'm not talking about mushy lovey dovey love. I'm talking about real love. A love that is full of grace, encouragement, truth, hope, and all the characteristics that were shown to us.
A love we CHOOSE even when 99% of us is nagging at us to take the easy way out.

But love is forgetting ourselves. Love is laying down those human characteristics and choosing to seek someone else instead. Definitely easier said than done. 

Below is one of my favorite quotes (I sure do say that a lot, don't I??)  

"We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it."
-Madeleine L'Engle

Love is powerful. It changes people and it changes lives. I think a lot more emphasis should be placed for Christians to love. We should focus more on truly loving every single person God places on our path. Short term or long term. Love them. Love, love, love them. Because that is all we are created to do. To be a source reflecting back love Himself. 

Love is a huge choice to make. It's hard and sometimes every bone in your body will be resisting. Although it's hard, it is so very, very powerful. I can't say that enough.
A tremendous and perfect love changed the world many, many years ago on the cross and continues to change hearts to this day. 
What wonderful ways He can work in us when we choose to love despite anything else. 
When we choose to lay down our lives for others. 
When we choose to forget ourselves and love as Christ has loved us. 

In closing, one of my favorite, favorite, faaavorite verses! 1 John 4:8:

"Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."

Choose love.