Enneagram Series: My Story As An Enneagram One

Hey fam!! I am officially starting a new blogging series on the Enneagram. I know a lot of Christians who are interested in this particular personality test and its intersection with personal growth and our faith journey, so I am doing this series to highlight the journeys of various individuals with various personality types. I pray that this series serves as a testimony to God’s goodness and the ways that the Lord has helped us overcome struggles in our lives. 

Note: Personalities tests do not define us, but they do help us to better understand ourselves and those around us. For example, if a person claims to be an introvert it gives us the understanding that they need time alone to re-energize. This does not handicap them from socializing; it merely tells us about an important facet of their personality and the way that they were created and designed. The same goes for the Enneagram. 

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Most of us can remember at least bits and pieces from our childhood days. The days when we were young, and still trying to find our place in this world. The times that molded us and shaped us. The fragments of our personality that bled into our adult-selves. In many ways, our younger selves give us a glimpse into the person we are becoming. And I know that for me personally, I can see this principle at play in my own life, looking back on my younger, childhood self. 

I can still remember times as a kid when I’d literally go to tears when I missed a word on a spelling test, to the absolute befuddlement of my parents, who thought I did fine. I also remember times when I, for the sheer enjoyment of it, lined up my crayons in perfect rainbow order (descending from red to purple) and feeling a sense of satisfaction in my accomplishment. In my young, childhood brain, there was a right way of doing pretty much everything—including arranging crayons.

This tendency, though eventually taking a more mature form, eventually found itself re-emerging throughout my teenage years. 

I can remember putting pressure on myself with nearly every task that I took on. In my schoolwork, I strived to make straight A’s. In my writing, I wanted every sentence to sound perfect—regardless of whether anyone actually ever saw it or not. When I was on the yearbook team, I wanted my pictures to be lined up just-so. And when I had chances to sing on stage, act in a play, or give a speech, I practiced nearly to the point of insanity.

In some ways, this perfectionist-streak likely protected me from a lot of pain, heartache, and regrets. I never smoked. I never drank. I never had any regrets when it came to my interactions with the opposite sex. However, it was also easy for me to fall into other sins and issues that were less public and easier to hide, such as pride and self reliance. After all, grace was for the people who sinned ‘big’. For drug addictions and teen pregnancies. Not for the Christian ‘church girl’ who spends her free time swimming in the ocean of words.* Somewhere in my subconscious, I felt that if I could just put my all into everything I did and avoid making mistakes, I could find approval from God and others and avoid the pain that comes from falling short. But little by little, God began to show me the gaping cracks in my try-hard ways.

I began to see how even in small ways, I too often fall short of my own standards—and wear myself out in the process of trying to achieve perfection. But I also began to see that God’s love truly is big enough to cover me completely. And I began to realize just how unfailing and unchanging His love really is. 

I began to really see on a heart level (beyond head knowledge) that God doesn’t love us any more if we’re ‘good’ and He doesn’t love us any less when we fall short. I began to realize that when God looks down He sees me in all of my shortcomings and imperfections and still sees me as someone worth dying for. I began to see that as I stand before God, and as I pour out my heart to Him I don’t have to be the smart one, the good one, or the responsible one, but that instead, I can just be me. The real me, not the me that an overly critical ‘inner voice’* tells me I have to be in order to survive this thing called life.

In the words of an old song by Laura Story, “I can be scattered, frail and shattered, Lord I need You now to be, be my God, so I can just be me.”

I also, through this process learned what it means to see the lost and the broken and the prodigal as people not-so-unlike-me. To recognize that life is more than just a list of rules, and that God’s love goes deeper than the differences that exist between us. And to see the potential in people that too often, the church and society have written off. To see God’s fingerprints on each and every person that crosses my path.

Today, as a twenty-one-year-old college junior, I realize I am no longer the same perfectionistic, stressed-out girl that I was when I was younger. Sure, I still sometimes struggle with perfectionism. And yes, I do still sometimes put pressure on myself. But no longer do I see myself as the sum total of my grades, accomplishments, and high standards. Instead, I have learned to recognize myself as a child of God who does not need to be perfect to be loved by God and the people around me. And this, has made all the difference.

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“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (TPT). 

*Translation: The girl who’s low-key obsessed/addicted to books.

*Inner Voice definition – a term in Enneagram language used to describe that voice inside of you that constantly tells you to be better and reprimands you when you do something wrong. Enneagram Ones have an extremely loud ‘inner voice’.

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If you know your Enneagram number, and would like to contribute a post for this series, please contact me at courtneymwhitaker@gmail.com or shoot me a DM @authorcourtney1 on Instagram. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Only Human

A couple of years ago, a song came out by the popular singer Christina Perri called Human. I found this song through a group of friends, when we were sitting around talking one day. Someone pulled out their iPhone and pulled it up and that was my first introduction to it. The lyrics were fairly simple, but in many ways relatable.

The chorus goes, “But I’m only human and I bleed when I fall down. I’m only human, and I crash and I break down. Your words in my head, knives in my heart, you build me up and then I fall apart, ‘Cause I’m only human…If we’re honest, this song is relatable for a lot of us. We try our best, but still watch ourselves fall time and time again in one area or another.

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We try to defeat anxiety, but find ourselves battling it time and time again. 

We try to control our temper, but find it coming out in the worst way at the worst time. 

We try to get rid of lust, but still find ourselves battling ungodly thoughts on an all-too-regular basis. 

We try to overcome an addiction, habitual sin, or unhealthy habit and find ourselves coming back to it time and time again, each time getting more frustrated than before. 

Believe it or not, the apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, struggled with the exact same thing. He writes, in Romans 7:15-20 (NIV);

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

There are a couple of things that we can pull from this passage as Christians. The first, is that struggling is not an indication that a person is weak in their faith. After Paul came to Christ, he was one of the most on-fire Christians you could ever hope to know. He traveled around the world sharing the Gospel—in the face of danger and persecution. He started church plants and continued to shepherd the churches that he started through letters throughout his travels. If anyone was committed to their faith, it was the Apostle Paul. However, in spite of this Paul still battled with sin and the effects of sin just the same as each one of us. 

Second, we are not alone in our struggles today. I believe that one of the biggest lies that the Enemy tells us is that we are the only one battling with sin and struggles. Too many times, the Enemy will have us look across the aisles at church and tell us “You see so-and-so over there? They never struggle with this. They’re one of the good Christians. You’re not.” When the truth is, everyone is battling with something. As long as we are alive and breathing, we will face temptation and attacks from the Enemy. But the good news? We don’t have to fight it alone. 

And if you read Ephesians 6:11-20 (TPT), it becomes clear that God did not leave us without armor to fight this all-too-common battle. It says,

11 Put on God’s complete set of armor[a] provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser![b]12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.[c] For they are a powerful class of demon-gods[d] and evil spirits that hold[e] this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer,[f] for you are destined for all things[g] and will rise victorious.

Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. 15 Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.

16 In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One![h]17–18 Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword[i] of the spoken Word of God.

Pray passionately[j] in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers. 19 And pray also that God’s revelation would be released through me every time I preach the wonderful mystery of the hope-filled gospel. 20 Yes, pray that I may preach the wonderful news of God’s kingdom with bold freedom at every opportunity. Even though I am chained as a prisoner, I am his ambassador.

If you read this passage, you can see a number of strategies to fight against sin and temptation. The two things that it lists here are the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness because these two things go together and are ultimately, the foundation of our armor. The belt of truth is the truth revealed in Scripture about God and the breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness found in what Christ has done on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (NIV). We see this part of the armor cumulated in verse fifteen, which some translations describe as “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”.

In the second section of this passage, we are instructed to take faith as our ‘wrap around shield’, embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance like a helmet, and take with us the ‘sword of the Spirit’, which is the word of God. The first one of these, is like it sounds—having full faith in God and His presence in each one of our lives. The second, is about living intentionally Gospel-Centered lives. When we keep the cross, and Christ’s love for us at the center of our hearts and lives, it makes it so much easier to resist the Enemy’s attacks.

Lastly, in this section, we see ‘the sword of the Spirit’, which is knowing and applying the Scriptures to our lives and situations. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV). 

In the last section, we are instructed to pray—not just for ourselves, but for each other. As Christians we weren’t meant to do this life alone. We were meant to lean on each other and confide and help each other through our trials. And when we pray for another person, and help them through what they’re going through, it helps us take the spotlight off our own trials and in the process, gives them so much less power over us.  

To conclude, we may be only human, but we serve a God greater than anything we could ever face. And He is always with us, wherever we go!

“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,[ai] fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!” – Romans 8:38-39 (TPT). 

How about you? How do you stand strong in the face of temptations and struggles? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

On Being and Doing//Some Thoughts For 2020

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV).

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As I write this post, we are officially coming to the end of a decade. A decade that has seen me go from a somewhat awkward middle schooler to a somewhat less awkward college student. One that has seen me get my license, vote for the first time, and accomplish some of the goals on my very long bucket list. Most importantly, it has been a decade that has helped me grow deeper in my faith—and sink deeper into God. And that’s what I want to talk about in this end-of-the-year post.

We live in a culture that is consumed with doing. That is all about doing more, achieving more, and making more. That is consumed by doing all the things. And if I’m bluntly honest, I’m just as guilty as the next person—I enjoy setting goals and achieving them. There’s something satisfying about working hard to achieve your dreams. And there’s nothing wrong with this when it is done in a healthy way. However, as Christians, we are called to something far greater. Something countercultural that our soul truly longs for. 

You see, in this world, the emphasis is on doing. But in the Bible, God tells us that our focus should be on being.

Just take a look at John 15:1-8 (MSG) to see what I’m talking about.

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

As Christians before we do anything for God, we must first remain in God. We cannot be effective ministers of the Gospel and chase after the dreams God has placed in our heart without first chasing after God. The more I reflect on the meaning of ministry and how to be an effective witness for Christ, the more I come back to this simple truth. We must be deeply, and passionately rooted in God before we can reach the nations for God.

We must remain in His love, growing deeper in it with each passing year. (John 15:9).

We must remember who He says we are—that He has called us sons and daughters of the King. (2 Corinthians 6:18).

We must know God’s heart and understand on a personal level His love for humanity (John 3:16). 

This is not to say that doing will never happen, but being must always come first. Because as Christians, the good works that we do should flow organically from a heart that is fully connected to Jesus. When we recognize God’s heart for His people, we cannot help but respond. I saw a video recently by Lindy Cofer through a Brave Love study online where she was talking about how as Christians, our hands are to be connected to the heart of Jesus.* There is something powerful about this very vivid visual. Because as Christians, we can do nothing without Christ. And unless we are fully connected to His love for us, and for this world, our words will simply be empty noise—void of any true influence. 

Just take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) for further proof of this.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Even spiritual gifts, generosity, and giving our very life for the sake of the Gospel are nothing if we are not motivated by a love that comes directly from remaining in Christ’s love. Because in the end, when it’s all said and done, all God really wants from us—all He truly desires from us, is our whole heart. To know us intimately. To have a relationship with us. To love us with an everlasting, otherworldly kind of love.

This New Year, let our top resolution be not one of ‘doing’ but of ‘being’. Let us continue to sink deeper into Jesus. Let us have hearts fully open and surrounded to God. And let us let that love change us, so that we can change the world.

And if you don’t know this love, there’s no better time to get to know it than the present. 

Dear Lord, we thank you for this year. We thank you for the challenges, which have grown us, and we thank you for the blessings, which you have given us. We pray that you would work in and through our hearts and use us as vessels for your love, your grace, and your mercy. We pray that we would remember that ‘it is finished’ and that there is nothing we can do to make you love us more or less. Help us to rest in that grace, that love, and that freedom. And let us be voices declaring that freedom to all those who still have yet to hear it and accept it. We pray all of those things in your mighty, powerful, incredible name, amen!

*In case you’re interested, I’m posting the link to this course here. It’s 100% free and it’s really good! 

 

 

Jesus Changes Everything

“Choir of angels sing glory to the newborn King a baby changes everything..my whole life has turned around I was lost but now I’m found a baby changes everything.” – A Baby Changes Everything, Faith Hill.

Time after time, almost every Christmas, I try to imagine what the first Christmas was like for the cast of characters living during the time of Jesus’ birth. How they felt. What they went through. What they were thinking. A couple of years ago, I even did a short blogging series on Mary’s Point of View and Joseph’s Point of View speculating what it would be like to walk in their shoes. And it seems that with each passing year—though it’s an account that I’ve read thousands of times before, I’m able to pull something different from the story of how it all began. The story of our Savior.

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A Savior who enters into the normal paradigms of our life—and changes everything about it. 

Mary was just an ordinary girl—probably not much older than fifteen.Joseph was an carpenter from a humble background. Shepherds, who were among society’s poorest and plainest were some of the first to see our Savior. But Jesus invaded each one of their lives—and when Jesus stepped into the picture, their lives were forever changed. 

The crazy thing? The same could be said of the world today. When Jesus steps into the picture, nothing is ever the same. Former drug addicts become powerful preachers. The greedy transform to the generous. Career criminals change their ways. Families are healed. Marriages are restored. Lives are lived with purpose. Because when you encounter Jesus, it is impossible to remain the same. 

I saw this happen in my own family growing up. When my family came to Christ during my preteen years, it forever changed the way that we interacted with each other. How we lived. What was important. And though I came to Christ when I was still too young to have done anything too crazy, following Jesus has shaped and continues to shape my perspective on this world—allowing me to have joy in the midst of hardships and a peace that can only be found in Him. 

Galatians 4:1-7 says this;

*”What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” 

Because of Jesus, we can know a love that is unlike anything this world could ever give us. We can know a hope greater than anything we have ever known before. And we can have full access to God the Father because through Jesus we have been made sons and daughters of the King. All because Jesus left the perfection of Heaven to come down to this earth as a baby to die on a cross and save us from our sins. The story of our Savior is the greatest story ever told. And living our lives completely sold out to our Savior is the greatest decision we could ever make!

This Christmas, I want to challenge you to remember the One found in the first five letters of the word. To remember that Jesus still invades the lives of every person who has said yes to Jesus today. And that no one—no matter how hardened they may seem, is beyond hope. This Christmas, I want to challenge you to remember that Jesus changes everything.For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).

*Verse taken from The Passion Translation (TPT).

Relationship > Religion

Our righteousness doesn’t depend on our present performance but on Jesus’ finished performance.” – Judah Smith. 

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’m sort of a huge fan of lists. I’m not kidding. I have a list for practically everything. I have a bucket list. I have a list of goals for the semester. I have a list of people that I need to buy presents for every Christmas—that I strategically check off as I go. I also have a to-do-list, which usually isn’t a bad thing, but lately, it’s sort of turned into one.

You see, almost every day I make a list of goals that I have for that day—read my Bible, study for tests, write an essay for school, do some chores, prepare for youth group on Wednesday night…it’s sort of my way of keeping my head on straight and reminding myself to do all the things. However, somewhere around halfway through the semester, my list-obsession started to catch up with me

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Somehow, in the midst of it all, God wound up on my to-do-list. 

Somewhere along the way, I began to turn my time with Him into something to ‘check off my list’. Something that I’m ‘supposed’ to do. But if you think about it, this isn’t how we see any other significant relationship in our life. We don’t think of spending time with our parents or our friends as something that we ‘have to do’ to check off of a list. It’s something we get to do. It’s quality time with the people closest to us.

This is the kind of relationship that God wants with us. It’s about more than just reading a chapter in the Bible or trying to pray for a set amount of time (one of my Christian professors literally told me to do this). It’s about encountering Jesus’ love on a daily basis. It’s about nourishing a close intimate relationship with the God who laid down His life to save us. 

A while back, someone asked me a good question prompt for this blog—about how to put God first in our lives. And at the time, I wasn’t sure how to answer outside of the basics of having a daily quiet time with God. But lately, He has been reminding me that it’s about so much more than that.

He’s been reminding me that He knows every detail on my soul and every longing in my heart and every hope buried deep inside of me. He’s been reminding me that even on the days when I feel off or the moments when I struggle to feel Him, He’s still there! That He doesn’t want my works. He doesn’t want my ‘perfection’ (as if that actually exists anyway). He doesn’t want anything from me except my whole heart. He’s the only thing that can truly fill me—He’s the only thing in this world and outside of it that can truly satisfy!

Here’s the thing guys—God doesn’t just want to be first in our lives. He doesn’t just want to be the first thing we check off when we wake up in the morning, before we go to school or work. He wants to be in every part of our lives! He wants to be the one we go to at our lowest low, and the one that we praise through our highest mountaintop moments. He wants to be with us at our jobs, in our relationships, and in every part of our day. 

When we approach God with a “checkmark” mentality, it can get exhausting really quickly. But when we approach God with everything inside of us, and just show up and say, “God, you already know all of this—but this is where I’m at right now. The good, the bad, and the ugly” It brings us more life than we can ever even imagine!

But somehow, even for those of us who are seasoned Christians, it can be so easy for us to forget this. It can be easy to forget to approach God with a mindset of relationship and exchange it for works. It can be easy for us to forget how present God truly is in every moment is, and how great His love is for us. It can be so easy for us to get so lost in ‘being a Christian’ that we lose track of Christ Himself.

This week, I want to challenge you—if you haven’t reflected much on it lately, to remember how great our Savior’s love is for you!

How His sacrifice on the cross isn’t just the thing that forgives us from our sin and saves us for all eternity but the ultimate act of love and the ultimate bridge between God and humanity!

How He is the only one who can truly bring us life, and purpose, and true fulfillment—and how our relationship with Him is about so much more than a checklist!

Set a fire inside of my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control, I want more of you God. – Jesus Culture

“But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” – Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV).

 

Godly Confidence: Embracing Your Identity In Christ

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT). 

We live in a culture that consistently feeds us the lie that we’re not enough.

Whether it be from Hollywood, magazines, or toothpaste ads, we are told time and time again that we should be prettier, thinner, smarter, cooler, or otherwise different from the person that we are. Time and time again, we are fed an ideal of ‘perfection’ from our culture—and too often, we have accepted this lie as truth.

Recently, I posted to my Instagram account asking for suggestions for future blogs and video blogs, and one of the suggestions that I got was to write a post on loving yourself. And this got me thinking—what does this look like for us as believers? How do we, while following the Biblical principal of taking up our cross to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24), love ourselves the way that we’re called to as Christians?

I believe this starts with looking to who God says we are in Scripture, and planting our identity firmly in Christ.

From the very beginning, we are shown that we have innate worth simply by existing and being. In Genesis 1:27, we read, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (NIV). Each one of us is created in the image of God—which means that each one of us bears the mark of our Creator.

Furthermore, in Psalm 139:13-14, King David writes, “You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.[aI thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!” (TPT). Each one of us is created wonderfully complex, from our unique personalities and passions to our outward appearance!

I remember times during my teenage years when this truth didn’t always line up with how I felt. There were plenty of times when I felt awkward (who doesn’t as a teenager?), gawky, and like I totally broke the mold of how a teenager ‘should’ be.

I was pretty tomboyish. I was obsessed with all things books and words (still am, as you’ve probably figured out). And a lot of my interests fell more into the old lady category than the teenager category (hot tea…Hallmark movies…cats…the whole nine yards). But the older I got, the more comfortable in my skin I became. Slowly I learned that everyone has things that make them unique—and I learned to own the person that God has created me to be. To embrace my quirks, rather than run from them.

If you can relate to any of this at all, I want to challenge you to fully embrace what God has said about you. Not just on a head level, but on a heart level. To see that God has bestowed you with so many incredible gifts and talents and ways that you paint your own unique colors onto the canvas of this world. To show up fully in your sphere of influence knowing that God looked down when He created you and said ‘It is good’. To drown out the voices of the world that tell you that you have to be different to be accepted, because in Christ you are already enough!

In the words of a quote by George MacDonald, “I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” 

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How about you? What are your thoughts on living out your identity in Christ? I’d love to hear your input in the comments section below!❤️

Praying At The Mall

“I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about a somebody who saved my soul.” – Casting Crowns.

Hey guys!

Recently I had a really incredible experience and I wanted share it with you. It kind of breaks the format of my usual style of blogging, but I want this blog to be a place where I can share everything that God is doing in my life—and sometimes, the best way to do that is through writing about my own life experience. The ways that God is continuing to move and breathe and work in my own life and the lives around me.

So, if you would like to see one of the most recent God-moves in my life, read the post below!

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About four months ago, God placed it on my heart to do a prayer walk at my local mall. I had an assignment for my Youth Ministry class with Liberty University to go to a secular environment (e.g. not church or a small group) and observe the people there. And as I walked around the mall with my mom, God opened my eyes to such a need there—as I witnessed people who seemed, just in casual observation, lost, broken, and alone.

To give some backstory on this, a couple of years ago, I had the chance to do something similar on a mission trip with my old church. We walked around a town in the inner city of Jacksonville Florida and witnessed to people who were in desperate need of Jesus—prostitutes, drug dealers, and hardcore addicts. You name it, we saw it.

It was an incredible experience where I saw the Holy Spirit moving in powerful ways, and I realized that I could do that same thing right here, right in my home town. So, I talked to my youth pastor about the logistics of putting this together and began reaching out and inviting people—in hopes of putting together a prayer team. And this past Sunday, it all finally came together. And I saw God show up in a powerful way!

There were about five of us (all girls—it just sort of happened that way) and we met in the food court, praying together before we started. I was feeling a little jittery (just being totally honest here), but I strongly believed that if we went, God would work in and through each one of us.

We started off as one group, but eventually split up into two groups. We (the girl I was with and myself) walked through one store waiting for God to tell us who to talk to. Finally, she stumbled across a mom and daughter that she felt led to speak to. The mom was experiencing pain in her foot and said that she’d love for us to keep her in our prayers—but my friend offered to pray for her right then. So we prayed for complete healing over this lady’s foot. We didn’t get to see the outcome, but I’m fully believing that she was healed in Jesus’ name!

After that we walked around for a little longer—and suddenly felt led to pray for a lady who was about to leave. We managed to catch her before she did and asked if we could pray for her about anything—explaining that we were doing a prayer walk and that we were part of a local church in the area. She asked us to pray for her niece who was struggling with her identity and after we finished she looked grateful and almost about to cry—as if God brought us to her just at the right time. I take no credit for this but this is the Holy Spirit’s power at work!

After that we finally met back up with our group, and wound up going together in a trendy, well-known clothing store and talked to two more people—one who asked us what church we were from (she let us pray with her once we told her) and one who we talked to for quite a while. The second one asked us to pray for her with school and her relationship with her dad and told us that she used to be plugged in with a church, but hasn’t gone in a while. We had the chance to share our testimonies with her and invite her to our church. We also just had the chance to talk about Jesus and His love.

Lastly, we prayed with an older lady who worked upstairs. When I first started talking to her, I soon realized that she didn’t understand English very well, and admittedly froze. I took one semester of Spanish for college, but didn’t know the language well enough to speak it fluently. Thankfully, at that point one of my Spanish-speaking friends stepped in and came to the rescue, and she was able to carry on a full conversation with the aforementioned person. She seemed thankful for our visit and we had the chance to all pray over her and encourage her.

If there’s one thing that I learned from all of this, it’s this; don’t be afraid to be bold. There was a time when putting together an event like this would have really made me nervous but God has shown me time and time again that when we’re faithful and just show up, He’ll take care of the rest!

So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us?” – Romans 8:31-33 (TPT).

The Lord is my revelation-light to guide me along the way;[bhe’s the source of my salvation to defend me every day. I fear no one! I’ll never turn back and run from you, Lord; surround and protect me.” Psalm 27:1 (TPT). 

How about you? How do you feel God is leading you to be bold in your sphere of influence? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!👇🏻❤️