Category: Spiritual Lessons


Missed Opportunities

I’ve frequently used my shyness and insecurity as an excuse not to take action, and I’ve missed out on some great opportunities and relationships. There have been times I knew God was telling me to do or say something, but I hesitated and let the moment pass me by. As I’m typing this, I am reminded of Jeremiah who said to the Lord, “I cannot speak.” God said, “I have put My words in your mouth.” Also, when God called Moses, Moses replied, “Who am I that I should do this?” God said, “I will be with you.” The good news is that His mercies are new every day.

Jeremiah 1
Exodus 3:11-12
Lamentations 3:23

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Lonely Girl

I came across a prayer journal of mine from 2003-2004.  It was the darkest time of my life.  It was a time of loneliness, depression, and sin.  I knew the path of destruction that was ahead of me if I continued in my ways, but I kept going anyway.

I read the story of a girl who felt so rejected and unloved that she thought the only answer was to become someone else, to forsake who she was and, above all, forsake God who truly loved and cherished her. 

What gets me is that even during that time, I continued to read my Bible and write in the journal.  Time and time again, my words were “God, save me. I don’t want to live like this anymore”, but I kept slipping farther and farther away. I knew God was with me.  Why didn’t I trust Him? Why did I constantly cry out to Him for help, but then refuse to accept it? As I  sat in my closet reading my words from ten years ago, I began to cry and I  asked myself those questions.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know God NEVER gave up on me.

There was so much pain and sadness written on those pages. If I could go back in time, I would tell that girl that she was loved and that God had great plans for her.  I would tell her not to give up and to cling tightly to Him. 

God still loves me and has great plans for me…of this I’m sure.  I can’t erase what happened, but I can move forward with full assurance that God has redeemed me.

That sad, lonely girl is gone. She sometimes tries to show her face, but I kindly tell her to go away. I remind her that she doesn’t live here anymore.

The Comparison Game

It has been my nature to compare myself to others, to be insecure, and to give myself frequent pity parties.  God has been at work in helping me overcome this. He has shown me that feeling sorry for myself gets me nowhere.  He has challenged me to step out in faith and watch what He can do when I take my eyes off of myself and my inadequacies.

Here’s an example…

Back in January, I attended a ladies retreat with my church. Throughout our time there, for some reason, I just felt so disconnected from everyone.  It didn’t have anything to do with how the other ladies treated me; it was just something I was feeling inside. Sunday morning at church I saw several of the ladies who had met each other hugging, and they seemed so excited to see each other. I felt alone, and so my pity party began… I was thinking things like “I suck at relationships”, “I can’t make friends”, “I’m too quiet”, “I wish I was as fun and outgoing as other people”… and on and on and on.

A few days later, God spoke to me and reminded me of something the speaker said at the retreat…  “If you play the comparison game, you will lose every time.”   That’s what I do…I compare myself to others, I feel insecure, and I withdraw.

This time, however, God told me to do something else.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself, wishing people would reach out to me, I needed to ask Him how He wanted to use me to reach out to others. I spoke to the women’s ministry coordinator at our church and explored options including leading a Bible study or a ladies accountability group.  I am not typically a leader, however I sensed it was something God was calling me to do.  The decision was made to do a short-term Bible study first, and then continue with an accountability group if I still felt led to do so.

The Bible study has come and gone, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.  It helped me to be a little more bold, to meet some amazing women, and reconnect with an old friend.  More importantly, I was able to encourage and pray for one of those amazing women, and I have been blessed to witness God’s work in her life throughout the last few months.

I am grateful that God challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.   Sometimes I still play the comparison game, and I still have my insecurities, but God is breaking through them little by little.  I’m learning that I don’t have to be a powerful speaker or a talented musician or a social butterfly… I just have to be willing to let Him display His power and His love through me.

He can and will do the same through you if you let Him.

Beautiful

Beautiful – MercyMe (click link to view video)

I absolutely love this song.  The first verse describes how I felt for much of my life…

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
When all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They’d see too much

Wondering if I ever could be loved… yes, that was me.  I often doubted God’s love, my family’s love, and even the love that so many friends showed me.  Little did I know, not only was I loved by all of the above, but God put someone in my life who loves me like I never thought I could be loved…my husband Josh.  Not only does he love me, but he tells me every day that I am beautiful.

In a previous blog, I wrote about a night I was not feeling beautiful at all.  On the way home from a Dallas Stars game, after circumstances left me feeling sad and insecure, I played this song.  The second verse stood out to me…

Praying that you have the heart to fight
‘Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
They are nothing in the shadow of the cross

It reminded me of the healing God had been doing in my life and that Satan wanted to destroy the work of God by filling me with lies that I was ugly and worthless.  So I chose to fight.  I still choose to fight every day.  There are days I don’t have the strength.  There are days I don’t feel beautiful no matter how many times my husband tells me I am.

On those days, I remind myself of this song and of the great love God (and my husband) has for me.

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

——————————————————————————————-

PSALM 139:13-18

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

More of Jesus

I attended church last night and as I was standing in the presence of Jesus singing along with the worship music, my eyes were filled with tears.  I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I spent time in the Word or sang a song of praise to Him, except for when I’ve been at church.  I also realized how much I need Him…all the time.  Yes, that should be obvious.  We all need Him all the time, but sometimes I treat Him more like an acquaintance than the Lover of my soul.  Occasionally He will come to my mind, I’ll say hello, and then I’ll go about my day.

Because He hasn’t been my focus, I have neglected some areas of my life where He has called me to be obedient. Yes, I try to live in a way that pleases Him, I treat others with love, I generally make good decisions, but recently, I have felt like I have been merely existing.  I go to work, I eat, I watch TV, I sleep, and then I do it all again the next day.  I have been too complacent, yet Jesus said life is meant to be lived to the full.  (John 10:10)  I can’t live life to the full if I’m lazy and disobedient.

As I consider where to go from here, I will end with a prayer, the words to a song from the service last night…

Holy Fire burn away
my desire for anything
that is not of You but is of me
I want more of You and less of me

Search Your Heart

The internet…it’s a great thing.  There’s so much knowledge to be discovered, friends and family to reconnect with.  It’s really quite amazing, yet sadly, it provides a more accessible opportunity to enter into sin and destruction because it allows people to engage in those behaviors in the privacy of their own homes…to do things in secret.  For those who wouldn’t dare be caught in an adult video store, there’s the easy access to pornography, or the gambler who doesn’t even have to leave home to lose thousands of dollars in the online casino.   What about the man who enters into the fantasy world of cyber sex while his wife is asleep or the predator who deceives young children?  What about the lonely girl who takes on a new (online) identity to fill some void in her life, only to end up feeling more empty inside, or the spiteful, deceitful woman who likes to play with people’s minds?  I’ve heard it all, and have seen the destruction that can occur, whether it be in my own life or others around me.  It is very sad and satan would like nothing more than to devour us all. I think we all need to be aware of his schemes and aware of our own weaknesses, whether it be online or out in the world in which we live every day.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (JESUS) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 NASB

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 NIV

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”  Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

Where’s My Miracle?

One of my favorite quotes is this… “Sometimes our Lord comes with a miracle… Sometimes He simply gives us the grace to face the difficulties of life.”  (from the Bible study “Falling in Love with Jesus” by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli)

For a while I was constantly asking God for a miracle in my life…something BIG.  Questioning Him… “When are things going to change for ME?”  Every day I would ask, “Okay God, where’s my miracle?”  Then I realized…  1.)  I cannot expect my situation to change if I don’t make any changes in my own life.  2.)   Sometimes all the little things are more powerful than one Big thing that may or may not ever happen.  3.)  Every moment I live and breathe is a miracle.  4.)  Just as the quote above says… sometimes God does something huge, something miraculous; other times instead of changing the situation, He gets us through it.

I once read the question, “What is it that keeps you from going higher with God, with following Him with all your heart?”

My answer used to be that I was afraid of what I’d miss out on if I really followed Him wholeheartedly.  I’d miss out on fun, on the fulfillment of my own desires. 

But now…after turning away from Him, I am more afraid of what I missed out on by NOT following Him with all my heart.  I wonder where I’d be if I had not forsaken Him to pursue my own ways.

From now on, I don’t wanna miss out on anything the Lord has for me, for I know there is greater joy and pleasure in following Him than anything else I could chase after!