blog

Cheap Fillers

I have a really messed up diet.

Spiritual diet that is. (Not that my physical one is good either, but it’s improving!)

There are lessons that can be learned from our physical diets that can teach us about our spiritual diets. Of course, we don’t actually eat stuff to make us fill spiritually, but our diets consist of things we use in our lives to give us our drives and contentment. You can rely on God for your energy, or other things, which we call idols. So ask yourself, “what is keeping me going?”

Here is where your actually physical diet takes place. I am not sure if you are aware, but many of the foods we eat contain “cheap fillers.” These are ingredients that help “bulk up” the food which yields to more product at a cheaper cost (cite). In between your slice of bread, you have these filler ingredients that were used to make your bread bigger or even make it cook faster, or last longer. While this might sound appealing because world hunger is a sad known reality and we don’t like to spend an arm and a leg to go grocery shopping,  the cost might literally be your whole body. These filler ingredients lack nutritional value, and sometimes they are more destructive than helpful. I really discovered filler foods when I started to research how to find good dog food. That means we use filler ingredients in our food, our pets’ food, and quite possibly our spiritual food. Not only that, but I am guilty of eating chips, sugary drinks, and other terrible (and sadly delicious) foods to satisfy my hunger and cravings.

I am not trying to guilt you into a physical diet, but I am making a tangible connection. From the above examples, we can see it is pretty easy to consume things that do not give us long term benefits. All these fillers do for us is they fill us for the moment. Is that all I want?

After thinking about the cheap fillers in my life, I thought about my spiritual life. I wondered if I was filling my spiritual belly with cheap fillers. Unfortunately, I realized that I was. While my main fill is my serving of Jesus’ grace and God’s word, I realized I was adding on sides of cheap fillers. One of my favorite cheap fillers is acceptance from people. I realized that I wanted this so bad that I suffered from depression from the rejection I received in my life, almost to the point of death. If I had relied on God to make me content, I would never have suffered that way! This filler continues to rob me of happiness and contentment. It is a cheap filler that has no nutritional value to my spiritual life! I end up feeling empty and weak because the things of this world were never meant to satisfy me. While they fill my spiritual belly for a short time, they never nourish me and make me stronger!

Cheap fillers can be anything and everything! We use things like sex, money, fame, relationships, and the list goes on! I challenge you to have the Lord examine your hearts and reveal what you are filling your spiritual belly with. It might be harder to get rid of cheap fillers in your physical diet, but you have more control over your spiritual diet. God’s satisfying word is at the tip of your fingers and rests on your lips. It’s so easy to get fulfillment from God, so take it! Don’t miss out on the great stuff and fill your life with junk. It’s cheap, it’s useless, it’s junk!

Advertisements

Blessed With Insecurities

I am blessed to have my insecurities.

Wait, wait, wait, wait… what?!

Yes, I said it! You might be wondering, “WHY?!?” or “UNTRUE!!”, but please hear me out!

I have had my share of insecurities, whether they be personal characteristics or uncertainties about the future, so I totally understand why this is one of the most unbelievable statements. I get it. Feeling insecure stinks. You feel like you’re not good enough and neither is your future. These insecurities then give way to a variety of other terrible feelings, like depression in my case. Trust me, I know insecurities are not fun.

However, I am also prideful, which is not something I’m proud of. I hate that I am prideful, and I wish I just had such a humble heart because pride is a cause for many (if not all!) sins. I am so grateful God was able to break through my pride enough to save a knucklehead like myself, because one must be humbled before they can even accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

But, so what? I have insecurities and I have pride issues, that is something that can describe many people. Well, insecurities matter for this reason: imagine a man with no insecurities. He would feel 100% every second of every day, and not have any worry in the world. He would not need to rely on anyone except for himself! Do you see where I am going with this? If I was never insecure, I would never have moments where I felt ugly internally or externally. I would never feel unloved. I would never feel like I needed help. But that is the problem. We all need help, but sometimes our pride can cloud our judgement. Like I said, we need to be humbled to come before Christ, so if we are never insecure, we would not have a need to be humble, and we would never come to Christ.

I realized that if it wasn’t for my bouts of self-loathing and constant anxiety for the future, I would be extremely self-confident and never cry out to God. If I never cried out to God, I wouldn’t have the privilege of knowing Him intimately, or even have a chance to accept His gift of salvation! It is because of my insecurities that I need God so much. As the Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:7  “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” He acknowledged that without insecurities, he would be too prideful to come to Jesus. (And just as a quick acknowledgement, I understand that people go through serious trials such as depression and self-loathing. I support loving oneself and being happy, but one’s identity can only be firm when it is found in Christ. Also, true joy is only found in Christ. Therefore, suffering is so much better because it helps you become aware of the truth, than to believe the common lie that you are capable all on your own!)

As this truth was revealed to me, I couldn’t help but to desire that I had more insecurities. It is such a weird desire, but I know how wicked I can be because of my pride, and I know that sometimes the easiest way for me to be humbled is if God gives me a reason to be humble. I have always been insecure with a few aspects of my appearance, and now I see I must rely on God for this because He made me how He wanted me to be, and He thinks I am gorgeous. I am also insecure about many of my personality traits. Again, God loves me just as He made me, and for all the bad stuff, I have Jesus to make me clean. I have to rely on God for my identity. As for my future, I am always anxious. I get anxious about any bit of bad news, but then I have to rely on God and remember that he is Jehovah Jireh (the Lord is Provider in Hebrew). Again, I am drawn closer to God because of my insecurities.

I began to realize that every insecurity gave me another reason to depend on God.

Insecurities open up a gateway to a beautiful relationship. Paul continues saying, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) By being weak, God is strong, and then He is glorified in my life. I could only hope that by letting God be strong for me, that he would transform me more into His image, so let the insecurities come!

Knowing that I am foolish, self-reliance is terrible. The best thing that could happen is for me to be totally reliant on God. While God has not taken away all of my independence, he has given some insecurities that have helped me humble myself to kneel at the cross. For this, I am blessed with insecurities.

Uninvited

Rejection…

One of the most terrible feelings in the world. The very feeling that you don’t belong, or that you are undesired. It hurts so much, and we all have experienced it. Sometimes rejection destroys us. As Lysa says, “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.” It was destroying me. My painful encounters on the playground started echoing thoughts of worthlessness. God used the Uninvited book as a tool in my life to help me overcome depression, which developed from the low self esteem that rejection gave me. That is why I am so excited to participate in Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited Book Tour this week!

uninvitedReading Uninvited has been such an amazing experience. I knew I was depressed for years. I was fully aware of my sadness, but I never understood why. A few months ago I saw this book on social media and it changed my life. Lysa wrote about her heartbreaking experiences such as the times she sat lonely in parties, and I instantly connected with her. I realized how much I had let my past hurts define me. I became the lies the enemy fed me. He told me I was worthlessness, unable to make a friend, doomed for disaster, and so on. Because I believed the lies, I couldn’t walk in confidence. I walked around believing people were looking at me with disapproving eyes. These were all lies.

Lysa TerKeurst’s encouraging words helped me realize that. She talks about how we can overcome these feelings of rejection by fully inviting God in. She reminds her readers that Jesus loves us so much. We wants to personally know us and be with us. He wants to share our hurts and comfort us. When we feel sad and uninvited, we need to bring it to God for healing. It is when we invite God in that we can live confidently. We can “live loved.” That phrase is one that I repeat to myself, a phrase that Lysa shares in her book.

This book is amazing because of the presence of God and the author’s transparency. She spoke from a place of understanding, and pointed out that God understands too. It is wonderful to be understood, and to finally understand yourself. This book helped me overcome depression. By knowing what was wrong in my life, I could finally get better. I learned the truth to destroy the lies. The truth that this book quoted from so much; the Bible. Ultimately, I know that I am loved, and I seek to live loved. Just because I feel rejected because I was invited to a gathering, or because I was stood up, doesn’t mean there is something wrong on my behalf. Life happens, and when we know we are living in God’s infinite love, we don’t sit in desperate rejection. With that, I thoroughly recommend Uninvited to everyone who might be hurting from rejection or even to those who want to counsel others. God has done a wonderful work through it.

Even when you’re overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God. In her new book, Uninvited, New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst will help you live like you really believe that truth! You can get your copy by going to http://www.uninvitedbook.com.

Wonder

The Earth is really a beautiful place. Life is also very beautiful despite all the trials we encounter. This is something I have really come to learn in my freedom through Christ. When I look at gorgeous views such as the Grand Canyon or flowering fields, I feel as though I see them differently from how I used to when I didn’t know Jesus. There is an extra sense of beauty in freedom. Even recently, when I overcame my depression had a greater sense of freedom, and on my way home from a retreat, I couldn’t help but be enamored by the golden hills we drove through.

So why am I telling you this? Well, my current obsession song perfectly talks about the beauty that is experienced when someone is free. This song is called “Wonder” by Hillsong United. If you listen to the Christian radio stations, you may have heard it by now. In order to conserve space, I will not post all the lyrics, but I encourage you to check them out because it is a beautiful picture of what it means to be free from our sins and chains! However, I do want to slightly explain the song. You will find that the song refers to “second life.” It has images of water baptisms and the first opening of eyes such as when one is born. The song continues with this new birth and explains the feelings of wonder, freedom, and fearlessness. When we live in the freedom that Jesus provided for us, there is a magical feeling to it. Our desires for acceptance, fears of uncertainty, and feelings of sadness are gone because a child of God can feel His love, and have faith that He provides. We can trust that He understands.

Here is one of the best things to know: we have the choice to live in this freedom! Whether you are saved or not. To those who don’t know Jesus, He waits like a gentleman to be invited into your heart. All you need to do is say “Yes! I want you, Jesus, to live in my heart and I want to live my life for you!” and the freedom is yours! That simple! Though I must inform you, this is a decision you have to make everyday. Even to those of you who have accepted Jesus, sometimes we don’t live in freedom. I will be the first to say that I do not always choose to live in His freedom. This happens because I get distracted with the things in the world such as my responsibilities or friends. Although you shouldn’t neglect your responsibilities and friends are wonderful, don’t let them steal your attention. When you are heaven-minded, which is to be focusing on Jesus and what He has planned, you can live in this freedom. Even though this choice isn’t always evident (trust me I know!), it really is there.

Make the choice to experience God’s freedom to the fullest! He has created a beautiful world for us to explore and there is no comparison to the intimacy you feel with God when you are gratefully enjoying the gifts He has given us!

Psalm 19:1 (ESV) The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

The Hope Psalm

Salutations friends! For this week’s post, I want to share with you one of my most favorite psalms. I actually have two favorites as of now, but I want to share this one with you. This particular psalm connected with my feelings of depression which gave me hope. I call this psalm the “Hope Psalm,” otherwise known as “Psalm 42” or “Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?” Not only did it connect with me, but it reminded me of God’s presence. God not only understood, but He knew. I was not alone in my tears, but God was with me. He wanted to comfort me, and all I needed to do was let Him.

So here is the psalm :

Psalm 42

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah.

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation[c] and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”                                                                                                             11 Why are you cast down, O my soul                                                                                       and why are you in turmoil within me?                                                                                Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,                                                                                   my salvation and my God. (ESV)

Wonderful pslam, isn’t it? The big reason why I love it is the hope of happiness! Gosh, in the midst of depression it is SUPER hard to have hope for tomorrow. It’s like life is crashing down. This psalm talks about that. It feels as though we are forgotten by God, and our enemies (be it depression or any circumstance you are going through) seem to mock us. It seems as though we have nothing left but loss. And for me, I kept remembering being happy and joyous in the Lord such as in verse 4, and I was sad because I didn’t feel that way anymore. Thankfully the psalm doesn’t end at memories of happiness!

It states “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life (verse 8).” God’s presence is with us, and we “shall again praise him, (our) salvation and (our) God!” By no means are we meant to sit in sadness for ever. Life is hard, but our God is greater than our problems and our circumstances. You may not be happy right now, but have joy, brothers and sisters. Our Lord is with us, and we have happiness coming our way. No matter what. There will be one day when we “run on greener pastures” as Phil Wickham put it in “Heaven Song.” Trust in God, because He is our hope and salvation, and through/by Him, we can have joy even when life gives us every reason to cry! 

__________________________________________________________________

In other news…

I have come to my conclusion. I will be continuing with weekly posts on Mondays. It’s a nice day because it gives me the chance to share something I may have heard at church, and I can offer something that may provoke thought for you throughout the week. Of course, this doesn’t mean I will only post on Mondays, but this is my promise to always post on Mondays. If you press that follow button, you can always be notified when I do post!

Until Later!

Reboot and Purposed

Hello everyone! I want to apologize for my long absence! I had a lot of healing to do and I want to say I am back and better than ever! 

So in this post, I want to go over some quick grounder stuff and then I’ll give ya’ a nice little thought to close with. Let’s begin, shall we?

Well I plan on posting once a week now. I am not sure which day to post on, so I will announce that in my next post, but I would love your input on what day you think I should post on every week. Even if it doesn’t matter that much, I want to involve YOU, since I am here to serve God by serving you! That in mind, please help by answering this handy dandy poll!

Also, I am doing reconstruction on the site again (like always hehe) and I want your thoughts. You can tell me if you would like to see something specific so I can work on adding it, or if something looks horrendous/buggy please comment/contact me! This is super important so you can add a comment by clicking on the post title above and scrolling to the bottom where you will find a postcard-looking thing.

Before I move on, just wanted to let you guys know about the change in my site’s name. I figured, as Christians, we are no longer lost, but we are found. However we still have a journey in life so please invite yourself into reading the home page which will have more insight on that!

———————————————————————————————–

Anyways, I want to talk about a beautiful word. Purposed. Just say that like 30 times- not really, but it’s such a beautiful word. The meaning behind it is powerful.

The dictionary states:

1.

the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

2.

an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.

3.

determination; resoluteness.
8.to resolve (to do something): …

By that we see that you can “be purposed” and you can “purpose.” It’s a noun and a verb. And let me tell you, you are SOOOOOO purposed! You are “intended” and have a “desired result” by the one and only God! The creator of the universe and heavens and Earth has purposed you! He has intended you for a greater purpose, and on a smaller scale, He purposes you wherever you at whatever time. This a great for my spirit to know. I struggle with rejection so remembering that I am purposed in my place, I feel so reassured and loved when I may not be invited to a gathering or a friend doesn’t contact me for a long time. If God wanted me to be with “_____” or be at “_____” I would have been there. But God wants me where I am.

Also, “purposed” is beautiful as a verb. It’s a word with determination and strength. It gives you power to make a change or fulfill an action. For example, if you aren’t a Christian, you can purpose to have all this goodness! You can make that choice to invite God into your heart, and He will do the rest! Or for me, I can purpose to live a healthier lifestyle. By purposing something, you imply the intention to wake (spend time with Jesus with I purpose to do (; ) and take action by purposing to go workout!

I want you guys to be encouraged because you are purposed, and you can purpose. You are all beautiful people with wonderful stories. Don’t forget that! Love you all and don’t forget to give me your insight and opinions!

∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨∨

Trained to Pray

 

This is probably going to be one of the weirdest connections you have ever heard, but it is okay. It came to me in the middle of church as we were going through the book of Habakkuk.

In my psychology class, my professor talked about a rat assignment they used to give to all the students. Every student was to train their rat to do something, such as press a button, and whichever rat, at the end of training, pressed the button the most in a 30 minute span was the winner.

The students trained their rats by feeding them a piece of food when they pressed their button. Some people were consistent to give them food every single time the button was pushed. Other students waited for the rat to press the button about 10 times before giving them food. By the time the test came around, it turned out that the rats who pressed the button the most were those who didn’t get food consistently.

I related this to us in prayer. What would happen if God answered every prayer with what we wanted, right away? We would turn God into a genie, and only come when we needed something. We would pray sparingly. However, God has perfect timing and makes us watch and wait. When we pray, He listens, but He doesn’t immediately give us what we want, or sometimes He says no. This pushes us to continue to pray in desperation for God. God wants us to come to Him often, and He knows this is the way to do it. Just as trials bring us to God more than happiness, the longer the trial, the greater the impact. God stretches our reliance on Him. In a way, we are like little rats (or mice if that sounds better to some of you). We are always going for what we want and need, but with slow results, we spend more time looking. We spend more time praying.

Brothers and sisters, watch and pray. It is always for the best.

By the way, that is a cute picture I found of pinterest, it’s not mine. (: