Worry

When Making the Right Decision Becomes Crippling

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Today I’m writing this blog as much for my own encouragement as for anyone reading this. If you have been following my posts at all you may have noticed that I write from my own personal experiences. A lot of the time when I’m going through something and God gives me a word of encouragement I want to share it because I realize the powerful truth that I’m not alone in my struggle, that there is probably someone or maybe lots of people going through the same thing. So as you read this realize I don’t have it all together. I’m still figuring things out and trying to get the hang of things in my own walk with Christ. I'm telling these things as much to myself as to anyone else.

Alright, so in Psalms 33:11 it says, “But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.”

Here is a thought: Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.

What does that have to do with the Psalm? It says, His plans stand firm forever, so in life when things are falling apart remember God’s ultimate plan cannot be moved. It may seem like everything is coming apart, but either it’s something the enemy planned for destruction and God says, “I will use this for good,” or maybe some things needed to be removed and reshaped in order to get you where you need to be.

So often, we worry about missing out on an opportunity. We put so much stress on making the “right” decision, but did you ever think that maybe God intentionally wants us to miss out on certain things to position us for something greater.

God sees the bigger picture and He knows where we need to be, so don’t you think He will make darn sure we are there despite our own human stupidity?

Like it says in the Psalm God's intentions CANNOT BE SHAKEN! That means His will and His plan will come to be somehow. It might not be the exact way He originally wanted, but it will happen.

So there are a few different cases. One is that, yeah maybe God wanted you to make a different turn that you didn’t, (oops we made a wrong a decision…again), but I strongly believe that just because say maybe I decide to not do something, that opportunity is not missed. No, if God planned for something to be it will be. Either He will send someone else in my place to accomplish it or He will redirect my steps to get me back to where I need to be.

There are other times when we have a decision to make and we think it’s right because it’s good, but just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s the best. Or sometimes we think we’re going to get a job, and we believe that it would be such a great opportunity, so of course it’s where I’m supposed to be, but maybe God is saying no to that because He has something better in mind. Yes, other people are involved and they can make the wrong decisions, but we must trust that God has everything in control and He will make another way.

We need to stop worrying about being in the right place at the right time because that will just begin to wear us down. In the end we already know that God wins the battle. His will and His plan will not be shaken. Did you hear that? HIS PLANS WILL NOT AND CANNOT BE SHAKEN! If we believe that in the end the battle is already won, then why wouldn’t the same apply to our lives and those around us now?

So keep praying for God’s will over your life and those around you. Keep walking; don’t let fear and worry stop you from moving even if it means moving backwards.

until next time
until next time

When We Believe We're Not Good Enough

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We’ve all heard the phrase, “I’m my own worst critic.” Many of us have probably even said it. In the last few months I have begun to be a pretty bad critic of myself. I didn’t want to be that person who judged other people for their actions, so I resorted to judging myself and my own thoughts and choices. Now, my judgment of myself has not been a result of some huge thing I did or because I turned from God, but I have judged myself for not being a good enough, radical enough, on fire enough, Christian. I know, it sounds stupid right? Yet, here I am realizing the way I have come to think of myself. Instead of seeing where I’m at right now as a season of growth and learning, I have begun to see it as a season that seems like I have put everything in reverse. I have begun to look at others and say to myself “That person, they’ve got it. They’re really doing something awesome for God. They’re life is so on fire. They just seem to always get it right. I wish I could be like that.” That last line right there is where I need to catch myself. As Roosevelt once said, “comparison is (indeed) the thief of joy.” Those words have definitely played out in my very walk with Christ.

I have allowed myself to compare my growth and walk with Christ to others’. I have allowed it to cloud my thinking, to make my view of myself lower. I set goals in my life, and when I fail I am hard on myself. I made a decision and followed through with it and then a month later I realize how stupid that decision was, and I think, 'God why did you let me do that?' How could I have been so naïve? I am so selfish. Will I ever get it right? I have become my own worst critic in these moments. I start to question my own ability to discern where God is and isn’t leading me.

As I’m even writing this now, tears are starting to fill my eyes. Why? Because I have lived with the lie that I’m not good enough. I have believed it. I have come to God ashamed that I still haven’t learned yet. I’m still making stupid decisions. I have believed that I’m not a good enough Christian. That I’m not someone who others can come to with their problems because I’m still working out mine. These lies made me begin to believe that God was angry with me.

But he isn’t. Instead all I hear him tell me is I LOVE YOU. I AM PROUD OF YOU.

He doesn’t place shame on me. He doesn’t say, “I can’t believe you Kaitlin. You still haven’t learned this yet? You’re running out of trys. If you haven’t gotten it by now, there’s no hope.”

No he doesn’t say that. Those are all lies from the enemy trying to convince us to give up. To keep us from running after God and to keep moving forward.

It won’t do me any good to beat myself up over my choices and for having to keep coming back to God saying I still haven’t learned how to ______________(fill in the blank with whatever you’re struggling with). God in all His mercy takes our hand and leads us back to the start and says, I am with you. Walk with me child.

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:6-10

until next time
until next time
photo courtesy: http://albumarium.com/53949a1f7670732086e31900-solitude/53fe293e7670735c60580e00

No Need to Worry

I remember when I started college I was so excited about my future.  I was so sure of what I was going to do, and I couldn’t wait to graduate and begin my life.  Even listening to those last words is funny.  Like somehow I thought that my life hadn’t already started.  Once I graduated, I thought “real” life would start.  As I am now nearing the end of college my feelings have begun to change from excitement to fear.  It’s so funny how I can go from being so sure, to having no clue what the next year of my life will look like. Trust me, I do understand that it is normal to experience these emotions as a person who is going to have to leave the life of a student, which I’ve known for 16 years of my life, to hopefully working a full time job.  I’m just being open and honest right now, by admitting that I still began to let those fears and anxiety creep in.  The thoughts came slowly, and at first I just brushed them off like they were simply pre-graduation jitters appearing 10 months too soon.  Then I began to think more about them, and these seemingly small worries became heavy and weighed on my spirit.  Although, from what I see from others, this is pretty normal, which has helped me.

So I thought it was okay to think this way, but I was wrong.  You see it says in Romans 8:6, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE.”  Not even realizing it, by focusing a lot of my attention on worrying about my future and the life I have no idea what I’m going to do with, I was actually hurting my spirit.  It isn’t healthy.  The Scripture even uses such strong language as to say it leads to death.  Worrying doesn’t lead us anywhere good.  It only takes us back, yet we let it consume our thoughts and take up so much space in our minds, space that it doesn’t deserve.

To set our minds on the flesh means to think in terms of the natural world.  Not believing that God is who He says He is or that He will do what He says He will do.  It means to pursue the things the flesh desires, to have greed, or lust, and to even feel shame about things we have done or resentment and bitterness towards others who have committed offenses against us.  These are all things that are a result of the fallen world we live in.

But this is the beauty of Christ.  He instead gave us a much better alternative.  By giving his life as a sacrifice for our sins, we now have the ability to live as new creatures according to the Spirit and not the flesh.  And this kind of living leads to life and peace.  By setting our minds on the Spirit we can live our lives the way God intended for us to live, a life free of worry and fear and shame and doubt, a life free to walk ahead in peace, knowing that when our thoughts are consumed with His truth and our life flows from that, NOTHING can stop us.  We are able to soar as high as we can with nothing weighing us down.  That is what life can look like when we allow the Spirit of God to control our minds instead of the flesh.

I encourage you to read over this passage, even out loud with a few people, and write down words and phrases that stick out to you.  Then read it over again and write down all the characteristics of God present in this passage, and let the verses to really sink in.  Even if you've read this passage of Scripture before, try to see it with new eyes and allow God to speak to you through His very Word.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of lifein Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit isalive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodiesthrough His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:1-11

Prayer: God, thank you so much for the power that your son's sacrifice has over the law of sin and death.  Thank you for giving us a way to live our lives free from condemnation.  I ask that you help me to not let the things of the flesh control my mind, but that I will come to you empty and allow your Spirit to fill me up with life and peace.  Thank you for making me alive in You.  In your name I pray, Amen.