We get challenged each and every day. Some challenges are small, like someone cutting you off and other challenges are large, like being denied a promotion. Anytime these “challenges” happen, we get frustrated/annoyed/pissed off but God wants us to look at these moments differently. God is saying in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” God is saying that throughout your life, He is going to be testing you (with big and small) bumps in the road and the key is, He wants to see where you’ll lean in those moments. We all know its so simple to throw up your middle finger at that driver or to talk smack about your boss behind her back but first, you need to ask: What would Jesus do? (90’s nostalgia anyone?!) Its in those moments of being let down/mad/frustrated that we should be turning to God to vent and waiting on His reply to know how to move forward.
The crazy thing is that God may have just prevented you from getting into a collision and stopped it by having that other vehicle slow you down at the exact right moment. And God may have said “Child, this is not your opportunity. Let me show you something better.” We may not know why these things happen the way they do BUT we do know that God has a plan (separate from yours) that is far greater than what we could have mapped out ourselves.
My question to you is: What perspective are you going to take?
Option 1: Being cranky that something didn’t go the way you imagined it?
Option 2: Trusting in the Almighty, knowing that He had something so much better set aside just for you?
There is one man that I look up to more than anyone else- this mans name is Job. What you need to know about Job is that this man was extremely blessed. He had 10 children, a beautiful wife (I assume), lots of land and animals, a house, good health, all the food he needed, among many other blessings. But above all of these great things, Job had a breathtaking relationship with Christ, I mean literally one of the best. One that didn’t waver. One that didn’t let distraction seep in. One that was a two-way relationship. One that wasn’t just about wanting but one of thankfulness and praise.
One day, satan came along to test Job to see if he was in fact strong in the Lord. So what happened next? satan took all his blessings away: his children, his wife, his land, his animals, his house, his health and so on. But here is the powerful thing…Job never stopped praising God and being thankful for what he once had and continued to have. When he lost everything he said, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” and “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
Did you notice who really caused the evil and heartbreak? It wasn’t God. God was the one who blessed Job (and us) with all the wonderful things we do have. What satan wanted was for Job to curse God, angry and blaming Him for all the catastrophe occurring in his life. Always, satan is testing us to see how we are going to react when things don’t go our way. I.E. sickness, death, divorce, heartbreak, failure, etc. My question to you is are you falling into satan’s trap or are you being like Job? I may not always choose right but man, I long to be like Job!
Have you ever felt distant from God? We all have different examples but somehow the same stories. Maybe we used to go to church with our family when we were younger. Or maybe we used to go to church “religiously” but then missed it that one time and haven’t made it back sense. Or, maybe you’ve always been distant with God and never really had a relationship.
But when your heart is yearning for more/you have more time in your schedule/you’re ready to see what this relationship with The Almighty is all about, you wonder how in the world can you? Often times the bigger struggle is wondering how to jump back in, pondering if God even wants you back after the [long] lag period of a moot relationship. In Jeremiah 24:7 it says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD, and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” What I love about this verse is that it says “they WILL return.” God knows you will go off the beaten path; you’ll learn, you’ll work hard, you’ll fall down, you’ll be where you shouldn’t, you’ll be curious but He knows, you WILL be back!
Now you still may be wondering, “Jeez Erica, its been a while since I’ve spoke with God. Where do I even begin?” My answer is start with what you know; Similar to how you would jump back into a relationship with a friend. You know how to feel right? How to talk? vent? It’s as easy as a conversation. Just remember, like the relationship with your friend, its a two-way street so don’t forget to listen (:
Whether its a dry season or a relationship you’re now exploring, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!
One of the biggest lies that the enemy tells is, “You were [are] a mistake.” Siblings say it, parents say it and you say it about yourself. Now, you can say your time table was different but as far as the mistake part…nothing about Gods plans are a mistake. He knew that you [or whoever] were meant to be born at that exact moment, just like He knew you would be reading this blog right now.
What about the other lies that attack who we are? You’re not talented, funny enough, as smart as, never capable of, the list goes on. Yes, we are all of our harshest critics but don’t forget about all of the great qualities that God gave you. Remember how sweet you are, how quick you are in difficult situations, your generosity, the beauty of the family you’ve been placed in? God created ALL good things, it says so in 1 Timothy 4:4, “For every creation of God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected…” Do you believe that? Don’t just assume everything is coming from God: negativity and everything surrounding it isn’t His! The God I’m referring to mapped out your life WAY before you were born, knew of the sin we would commit and decided to send his son Jesus, to die, in order for us to stay on Earth as sinners. That is the God who loves you unconditionally and accepts all your flaws! Nothing you have ever done is bad enough for God to not love and accept you. You’re His daughter [son] for cripes sake!
If you know that to be true or want to believe this, talk to God! Confess to Him and accept that Jesus did the ultimate courageous act and died for YOU!! –not bad for someone who thought they were a mistake, huh (;
A woman feeling scared and unprepared before she has a baby. A med student about to do their first surgery. A teen before they get their license and a cosmetologist as she does her first clients hair. What do all of these have in common?
Each of these examples are what we face almost everyday. Its the question of, “am I ready for the next step? Because I don’t think I am yet” and “maybe I just need more time/practice/patience/etc.” We push off these things because of the fear of the unknown and doubting our own ability. And I get it…it can be scary and worse yet, all the self-doubt hits you like a ton of bricks. But then God reminds us, “I gave you these abilities for a reason! I want you to take the next step. Trust me.” God isn’t asking for you to sit still and ponder the ‘what ifs’. Instead, He is telling you that taking that next step IS the confirmation that you are ready for it!
My advice to you is…go for it! Be brave! Taking that next step is the step, letting you know that you are ready and you had it all along! And if you need more encouragement than that, well, you know where to find me (:
Do you ever see someone and just think, “What is that shine about them?” Well friends, to quote the great Pharrell, it’s because I’m happy, The Holy Spirit is alive and well!
What battle are you having a hard time over-coming right now? For me, I struggle with letting new people into my life. At work, in my relationships, within my family, I have a wall so high, you’d think Trump built it. All jokes aside, we all struggle with something: hating someone, not being able to forgive, gossiping, over compensation with lies and a big ego, addiction, whatever it may be, it can be hard to shake these things off.
And low and behold, who sweeps in to remind you of these feelings and kicks you while you are down, saying “you’ll never be able to beat this. Why try? This is just who you are now.” But remember, all these negative feelings and things that bring about stinky feelings, they are not of God. Plain and simple. Going back to my example, when I meet someone new now, I am consciously aware of how I can better open up to them and push my own worries aside of who they are or what their intentions may be. But then like clockwork, the enemy steps in and says, “You won’t like this person. They aren’t good for you. And why are you even trying to fix this when you know you will just go right back to doing this again?” and to that I reply, “Shut up, stupid! I am the daughter of Christ [a son of Christ] and you will not talk to me like that. I may fall down but God will lift me up again!” Princess and prince, this (fill in the blank) does not define you!