Undefeated

From the time I was a little girl, I’ve always loved stories. I love the feeling of getting inside a character’s head. I love watching them overcome battles and struggles. I love seeing their hopes and dreams unfold at the end—as they get the happy ending we were rooting for all along.

We all have our favorite stories. Some of us enjoy romance movies/novels, where we wait for the guy to get the girl. Others enjoy action, like the Marvel series, where we watch the good guy defeat the bad guy. We each have unique tastes when it comes to stories, but regardless of the various differences between them they all have one very important thing in common.

The protagonist always has an obstacle standing in their way. 

Like these stories, we each have our own obstacles that we face on a daily basis, and as Christians, we have a common villain set on our destruction. A common enemy who wants to see us fail. Most often, the battle is within.

As an OCD struggler, I am no stranger to the reality and difficulty of internal battle. Most people tend to associate OCD with being a neat-freak, but that’s only part of it. The thing that drives people to struggle with this condition is unwanted thoughts that cause nothing but harm. It’s an internal battle, which manifests into controlling the things we can—like obsessive cleaning or tidiness. Nonetheless, slowly but surely I’m learning to gain better control over my OCD and better fight this battle.

Even if we don’t all struggle with OCD, many of us deal with intrusive thoughts on a regular basis—thoughts of insecurity, fear, and worry. All which are lies of the enemy. However, as we have the ultimate weapons to fight against these plaguing thoughts—through God and the Bible. We can’t always control the thoughts that go through our head, but we can control how we react to them.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Meanwhile Romans 8:37 tells us that we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us.

We might not be strong enough to face these battles and internal struggles on our own, but through the blood of Christ we are warriors destined for victory. Those anxious thoughts that come through our heads and our hearts are nothing but lies of the enemy, and through God’s strength we can resist those lies and stay strong and courageous. We can take those unwelcome thoughts captive and rebuke them with the truth of God’s Word—God loves us, God is leading us, God has a plan for us, and we are characters destined for a life brimming with purpose. 

We each face trials as we travel through this world—but through Jesus, who has already won the battle, we can live victoriously. 

Defeating any arrow that might be shot our way. 

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Just The Way You Are

“You just have to be yourself and go full with confidence and be courageous.” – Gabby Douglas

If you’ve been around the world of the internet and inspirational quotes for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard the story of the goldfish. Goldfish, as we all know, were meant to swim. They have the God-given ability to live within water and breath through their gills. Nonetheless, there’s one thing a goldfish cannot do no matter how hard it tries. Fly.

To fly would go against a goldfish’s very design. They have no wings. They’re not wired to fly. A goldfish has wonderful tasks it was created for, but if it’s told it’s whole life that it should fly, the poor fish will eventually get beyond discouraged.

For many of us, that goldfish is relatable—a symbol, if you will. Many of us have spent huge portions of our lives trying to be something we’re not, only to deny the person God created us to be. 

For me, this was a battle that I faced during my early years of high school. During this time, I was on a journey to find myself. Nonetheless, as hard as I searched and as much as I tried to forge my own identity, I always felt like there was this girl I was “supposed to be”. This girl who sat on a bench inside my brain and constantly told me one thing.

Something’s wrong with you.

In retrospect, I couldn’t exactly tell you what caused these bouts of insecurity, or the exact moment it started. Likely, it was a mix of a bunch of things—perhaps partly stemmed from culture and my own perfectionism. I felt like the girl I was supposed to be was different than the girl I was becoming. And this scared me. 

During this time, I did what most young Christian girls in my situation would do. I prayed. I listened to music. I bounced back and forth between trying to be perfect and rebelling in small, retrospectively insignificant ways. I wanted to be myself, and I wanted to be confident in that person. 

Little by little through small baby steps, I slowly began to become that person as I got to my older teenage years. I found a different church to attend with my family. I began to own my faith a little more, and be honest about my thoughts, questions, and doubts. I read a book by Emily P. Freeman called Grace For The Good Girl that impacted me in a big way. I began to find friends and role models who weren’t afraid to be themselves. I started a blog. I sang two songs in front of a crowd senior year—one that I wrote myself and one by one of my favorite singers.

Somehow, through it all a realization hit that helped me find myself and confidence in the way God made me—”Maybe God was OK with me just the way I was”. 

In Psalm 139:13-16, it says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God created each and every one of us exactly the way we were intended to be. He created us uniquely, with individual passions, hopes, dreams, and personalities. When we find life in Him, He doesn’t intend for us all to look the same. He wants to use each gift that he’s given us to bring glory to His name, and hope to a broken world. 

We weren’t all created for the same purpose, and we aren’t meant to all look the same, but we do have this one thing in common—we were each created for something wonderful.

download-1.jpg

And God loves each of us in the midst of our personalities, our beauty, and our flaws just the way we are.

Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. 

How To Have With A Crush (Without Going Insane)

It happens to all of us, doesn’t it? The first butterfly. The sinking realization. The late nights agonizing over them.

The person who has suddenly taken up space in our mind and left us with one-too-many love songs on our playlist.

The person who it could never work out with, yet who leaves us with shreds of hope that someday, somehow, maybe it could.

The whole thing can be absolutely maddening sometimes. 

eaf327974116ee88a075f2dc41ea24a7_c6ffefcbb4d313ec1f8cb567858397-funny-memes-about-a-crush_400-289.jpeg

We’ve all dealt with the agony of a crush at some point or another. It’s one of the few experiences we as humans deal with that’s nearly universal. It has been the topic of songs, books, movies, and TV shows. Ross’s crush on Rachel (Friends). Corey’s feelings for Topanga (Boy Meets World). Practically every Taylor Swift song ever. We have dealt with the pain of an unrequited crush.

Nonetheless, as stressful as it can be, I do believe there are some things we can do to make the whole thing a little less agonizing.

  1. Talk To Someone – One of the worst things we can do when we have a crush is to keep the whole thing bottled up inside. Oftentimes, talking with a close friend can help lessen the intensity of the situation, giving you the chance to talk through it and get some of those bottled-up-feelings out in the open. It is not always wise or feasible to confess your feelings to the person you like, but it is smart to have someone to confide in, who can help you walk through the very difficult and awkward situation of having a crush.
  2. Pray for them – One of the best way to deal with feelings that you don’t know what to do with is to channel them into something productive—and what’s more productive than prayer? It can also be wise to pray for yourself, and ask God to lead you through your circumstances with wisdom and guidance. He’s always someone we can confide in and though He may not magically make the crush disappear or bring you to a relationship with this person, He will make the whole thing easier to deal with.
  3. Trust God – God knows the entire course that our lives will take before we’re even born. He knows how many hairs we have on our head and He knows each and every one of our hopes and dreams. He also has plans for us when it comes to relationships—whether it’s a marriage and family or a call to celibacy with lots of close friends around, both which He will equip us for and give us the strength to live out. If it’s God’s will for you to be with this person, He’ll orchestrate things for you guys to be together. If it’s not, trust that He has something better for you down the road. No matter what path life takes us down, God always has our best interests at heart.
  4. Be their friend – As hard this can be when we have strong feelings for someone, sometimes it’s best to just be their friend for the time being. As much as the ‘friend-zone‘ is bemoaned as the worst situation to be in when you have a crush, I believe it is still better than nothing at all. It gives you the chance to get to know the other person on a deeper level, and if the circumstances someday allow it, it creates a great foundation for a future relationship.
  5. Don’t loose focus – One of the most frustrating things about having a crush is how distracting it can often be. It can be so easy to spend time wallowing in self-pity, watching movies, and listening to dramatic songs on replay, but it’s important to stay focused on other aspects of your life besides your crush. You have and always have had more in your life besides just them and it’s important to remember this fact. Go out with friends, accomplish some goals, and read some good books. You still have one life to live to the absolute fullest, crush or no crush.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

How about you? Do you have any on dealing with a crush? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! 

Real

“Oh craaaap, why did I just say that?”

“Is it seriously that late? I’ve gotten nothing done!”

“Please tell me I took my phone out of my pocket. Please tell me it’s not in the wash…”

Let’s be honest. These aren’t exactly phrases you’d typically utter on your average Instagram post or blog. They’re not the kind of thoughts you want to tell the whole blogosphere. As humans, we typically don’t stand on street corners with a megaphone yelling “Hey—guess what?! I’m a hot mess!”

But this is the stuff of real life, isn’t it? They’re the kind of thoughts we think in our everyday real-as-can-be-lives. They’re the kind of things we vent to our best friend about, but not the whole world. And they’re sure-as-heck not the moments we put in a scrapbook to remember ten years from now. They’re messy. They’re embarrassing. They’re the kind of moments you’d find on AFV.

A few weeks back, one of my good friends and I were taking note of this. She noted how on social media, our lives look perfect even if our real lives are falling apart. We post about the relationship but not the breakup. We post about the success but not the failure. We post about the final product but not the hours dying with a glue gun ready to call it quits. We like things photoshopped and auto-tuned. We like things to be perfect.

Now, to be clear, this is not a urge to post your entire life online. Many of us are private people would prefer to keep things between just a few close friends. That’s perfectly fine. Normal even. Nonetheless, there is one person who we should never keep our most embarrassing and painful blooper moments from.

God.

Unfortunately, this can often be far too easy to do. For many of us, being real with God can feel vulnerable or even downright scary. We worry whether we sound church-y enough. Whether we have the “right” kind of problems (as if there are any). We worry God will end up face palming and shaking His head as we give our whole laundry list of all the things stressing us out. But the truth? God already knows.

God knows about that dream you’re worried will never come to be. God knows you’re worried about schoolwork and grades and getting into a good college. God knows about that guy that’s been on your mind more than you care to admit. If you’re older, he knows about your marriage, your finances, and your children. He knows us at our high points and He knows us just as well at our lows.

If you look to the Psalms, it’s clear that David, who was “A man after God’s own heart”, was brutally honest with God. He showed a full range of emotion—from praise, to frustration, to sadness, to anger, to joy. Psalm 69 is a perfect example of King David’s honesty, as it reads…

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help my throat is parched. My eyes fail,
looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.” Psalm 69:1-4

Throughout Scriptures, those with the strongest faith were the ones who were the most real with God, as Paul laments “doing what he does not want to do and not doing what he should do” (Romans 7:15) and Thomas outright asked Jesus for evidence of His Resurrection (John 20:25).

There’s nothing that we can ask or express to Gd that He doesn’t already know.

He is always someone we can feel safe to be real with—even with our most un-instagram worthy moments.🙂Unknown-1

A Poem For Easter

Love Saves

Darkness, darkness aluminates the night

Scattered, battered, running in fright

Do you know him, do you see Him, hang from the tree

No I do not, said Peter, not once but three

Blood flowed, love showed, the sky glowed

Emptiness, emptiness, hovers over the land

As Jesus cries from the cross why has Thou forsaken this man

Who hangs in agony worse than we can know

All the while His love still continued to show

Arisen, Arisen, said the angel to they

Not on day one, day two, but day three

From the lips of angel He directed they

To see the empty tomb where Jesus no longer lay

Because it is finished, don’t you see here now

Love, love has saved us here, taken a bow

Because nothing could keep Him down, not a grave

Finally, with a risen Savior we’re saved

Not by mere man, or a hero in cape

But a God who loved us all, who has changed the day

This is why we celebrate, you see

Because of God’s love, poured out for you and me

Happy Easter everyone! I hope y’all have a great day! 

 

 

 

Nineteen Lessons For Nineteen Years

Hey everyone – big news! Today is my nineteenth birthday! 

Thus, inspired by my friend Mfon from Dainty M., I’m going to write down nineteen lessons that I’ve learned so far in my nineteen years!

  1. Trust God with your life – This one can seem so easy yet be so hard at times! So often, we want the full picture when God will only show us a small piece of the puzzle. But if we trust Him, the whole thing will all come together beautifully in time.
  2. Believe in yourself – I know this one is SO cliche, but it’s important! God made us just the way we are, with all of our quirks, details, and gifts – with an intent to use us for something amazing! So have some confidence in the beautiful you that He created!
  3. Work hard – nothing in life comes without hard work. From our goals, to our dreams, to making a basic paycheck, a good work ethic is essential to a fulfilling life. So keep on fighting and do your best in everything you do!
  4. Go easy on yourself – This one may seem counterintuitive to the one above, but it’s really not. Sometimes, as hard as we work, we should allow ourselves a chance to rest, and give ourselves a mini “sabbatical”. Even God, Creator of all things took a rest after an intense process of creating the world, so why should we expect to go with no breaks?
  5. Stay young – One of my good friends has always made a point to stay young at heart. She always notes that she still loves “kiddish” stuff and doesn’t want to become stiff and stuffy as an adult. I believe there’s a lot of wisdom here, and a little bit of a kid in all of us. Embrace that kid sometimes, we can’t adult all the time, right?😉
  6. Don’t be afraid to dream – Dreams are something that sustain all of us to some degree. Without dreams, we lack motivation, which can result in pretty depressing existence. Set goals for yourself and trust God to help you fulfill those dreams in his timing. Your dreams might just be a part of His plan.
  7. Appreciate your family and friends – Family and friends are some of God’s greatest gifts to us. They’re the people who help us grow and see us through the good times and the bad times. Never forget to take care of those relationships, and continue to nurture them even through the business of life.
  8. Keep learning – To often we limit learning to just school, but the truth is, learning is (or should be) a part of our daily lives. It’s continuing to grow and being open to new experiences. It’s allowing God to speak to us through our life experiences. Learning is part of what helps us grow as people.
  9. Be your best self – It can be easy to drag through life on some days. We’ve all had moments like that, haven’t we? Days where we just want to stay inside and watch Netflix on repeat. While it’s OK to have these somedays, try to embrace life with vigor and excitement, giving your all in each day. We only get one life—and it’s our job to decide what we do with it.
  10. Think of others – Jesus says to “do unto others as we want them to do to us”, and I believe this is a great motto to live by. Imagine what would happen if everyone looked out for others interests as much or more than their own. The world would be drastically different for the better.
  11. Never believe you can’t make a difference – It can be easy to feel like because we’re only one person, there isn’t much of an impact that we can make, but this is a lie from the enemy. God gave us this life and has equipped us with everything we need to accomplish the purposes He has for us. Plus, even the smallest acts of kindness can make somebody’s day.
  12. Find your passion – Passion is the thing that adds color to life. For me, my passion is writing. I love the sound of the written word and the shape of sentences. I love creating something and I love jotting down words that can help and inspire others. For you, your passion could be music, art, or teaching. Whatever it is, follow it! God has given you your gifts for a reason – steward them to the best of your abilities!
  13. Don’t be afraid – Fear can be crippling, and while there are some situations where it’s called for (AKA, dangerous situations), most of the time it is simply a hinderance. One of the biggest areas of fear can be the future, but God has gone before you. He’ll be with you every step of the way – all you have to do is trust Him.
  14. Enjoy the little things – God has blessed us in so many ways on this earth, but sometimes, when we get too busy, it can be easy not to notice the small gifts we experience everyday. As a wise man once said, “don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses”.
  15. Try new things – I’m admittedly bad about this one, as I tend to be very into routines and what I’m accustomed to, but oftentimes trying new things—whether it be a hobby or a new food, can often lead to something awesome.
  16. Read (at least a little) – Though I’m probably more of a book worm than some people, I believe that everyone can benefit by writing. Pinpoint something your interested in, or an author you absolutely love and find books accordingly. If nothing else, read the Bible, because I can promise that book will change your life!
  17. Take time to unplug – It can be easy to stay attached to technology in the world we live in, but sometimes it can be good to take a break. Read. Hang out with family. Walk your dog. Enjoy life outside of a screen.
  18. Look up to wise mentors – God has put people in your life for a reason. Look to those who know Him and who seem to have a lot of wisdom for guidance. It’s always helpful to have seasoned Christians around to help guide you through life!
  19. Be a role model – Be the kind of person you’d want your sibling or little cousins to emulate. Try your best, follow God, and be the kind of person others could consider a role model in their lives. Someone’s always watching, even when we aren’t aware of it.

How about you? What lessons Has God taught you over the years? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!