Monday, March 26, 2012

Be Still My Heart...

I’m a passionate person. 
I have led with my heart since before I can even remember.
I hated, HATED, movies that involved animals when I was little because inevitably--they got hurt in some way or another--and I ended up in a puddle of tears, begging my mom to turn it off. 
I was devastated every time one of my hamsters died. I’m fairly certain we held a funeral for almost a dozen hamsters in my childhood. 

My poor parents. 
I had more barbies, baby dolls and stuffed animals than most of my friends combined.
I wanted to take care of them all. 
In my heart of hearts, love and passion spill out of every single part of me.  
And that isn’t a bad thing. 
I think that is what has led me to the job that I have now.. that led me to a career path that would allow me to chase my ideal fantasies of "changing the world"... that led me to writing to share my heart with your heart. 
However the heart is tricky
REAL tricky.
My heart is where I keep all things sacred. 
My fears. My hopes. My longings. 
My joys. My sorrows. My love.
It has been bruised and torn apart.
It has been tactfully and beautifully put back together.
So then what do I do with my heart now? 
Some days, I fear that as a single woman who has been told to keep my heart completely guarded, that I will flee from the idea of allowing my heart to feel anything.
Don’t get me wrong, I do feel things at extraordinary lengths. 
Sometimes too much so.
The people in my life make my heart burst with love sometimes.
Serving God, makes me truly fall in love with Him. 
I rejoice and ache with every story and lesson God teaches every girl that I’m so blessed to share stories and thoughts with.
And knowing more about Him opens up parts of my heart I didn’t know were there.
But deep down, there is this little fear... 
“Will I know it when it hits me? How can I trust myself? I’ve built these walls...”
A heart is wicked and deceitful above all else.
Oh my goodness, how many times we are told this verse as single people!!!
Truth: I am afraid to trust my heart. 
My heart, some days, tells me things that I know are not true. 
Yet the truth is not changed due to my lack of belief. 
So God is teaching me.
He’s teaching me that my heart... my heart... is good. 
My heart is NOT wicked and deceitful. 
My heart is a tool that He willingly uses to lead me closer to things of Him.
A heart surrendered to God and His will is never a bad thing.
It’s when we let the heart take reign of our lives outside of God that we find trouble.
I’m worried I’ll make a wrong decision.
I’m worried I’ll get distracted from what God wants for me.
I’m worried I’ll pick the wrong thing, pick the wrong person, not be able to trust my heart or myself.
Truth is though, God can use my heart to lead me to the right place, to the right moment, to the right path, to the right person, and inevitably to HIM. 
He has done it in the past. 
It all comes back to surrender. To realizing you can’t do it alone. That you don’t want to control your heart. And you’re willing to not control your heart. 
Delight yourself in Him. The desires of your heart will then align to be His.
And He is good. And He is loving. And He won’t let your heart lead you anywhere He can’t reach. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lies Single People Believe

Have you ever noticed that there are so many things we tell ourselves as single people to help "deal" with the singleness?
I have.
And some of them are ridiculous. 
Yet in our mind, they make complete sense.
Like this one.. “"Once I get my life on track, once I get my life together, once I accomplish (whatever) God will bring me a spouse.” 
Um. No. God is not in the business of rewarding you for getting your life on track. I feel like this kind of falls in the same category of people waiting till they have it all together to give their life to Christ.

You make fix one area, but then another may fall apart. 

Life is messy. 

I don't think it gets any easier as we go. In fact, I've noticed it just gets harder. 

I hate to tell you, but its probably never going to happen. 
If it does though, and you figure your entire life out and get it on the “right track” please email me and fill me in on how. Or just write a book. You’ll make millions.
The danger in telling yourself that you will someday have it all together is belittling what you are doing now, who you are now, and constantly telling yourself that you aren’t good enough. SUCH.A.LIE.
How about this one... “"My life is going to be great when I get married.” 
Why can’t your life be great now? 
I don’t know anything about being married. I don’t know how hard it is. I don’t know how much work it is. I also don’t know how rewarding it is.
But I know this. My life now... is good. And its life. And its happening. If I sit at home just waiting on a husband and thinking about all the things I could do when I get married...

I’ll miss it. 
I’ll miss summer nights with the windows down, blasting music with my best friend and singing at the top of my lungs. Not worried about time, or worrying someone, or where I'm going. Just being in the moment. 
I’ll miss trips with girlfriends and groups of friends and family that I’ll never be able to get back. 
I’ll miss finding God, myself, and the meaning of joy, peace, love and sacrifice. 
Don’t waste this precious time. Live it. TRULY. DEEPLY. 
(I could throw in "madly" and do a Savage Garden reference but I’ll refrain)

"If I were (skinner, prettier, funnier, more quiet, more talkative) I would be noticed more.” 
I don’t remember the moment I started letting the amount of attention I received from guys dictate how much I thought of myself but I can guarantee it was pretty early. 
And I think its time we stop. Did you know you’re beautiful?
Because you are. I don’t have to see you to know that you are beautiful.
It’s time we stop seeking to correct ourselves and start embracing the little things about ourselves that make us beautiful.

We're so good at seeing beauty in others and not ourselves.
Encourage each other. Tell your best friend she’s gorgeous. I promise, she doesn’t feel it. 
And stop being so hard on yourself. God made you the way you are FOR A REASON. 
Change it and you change the masterpiece. 
And it is a masterpiece. Promise ;)
"I could do so much more work for God if I were married.”

Maybe you could. Maybe you couldn’t. 
Paul was right when he wrote that a married woman is concerned with married things: how to please and take care of her husband, her home, her children, her family.
This is as it should be. And If I am ever so blessed to have those things, I have learned to appreciate them even before having them and know that those will be the things my heart must take care of. 
But as a single woman, my heart is concerned with you. With the women who want to know more about God. My heart is concerned with how to help you, how to pray for you, how to further his Kingdom any and every way I can. My life is concerned with filling time doing meaningful things, with laughing, with loving with my whole heart, and with going out into the world to do whatever He calls me to do.
Work now. Find what you want to do. Follow your heart and your passions and see how you can do the same. 
The reward is beyond words.
There are soooo many lies and myths out there that we tell ourselves.. but the truth of the matter is, you are single because that is God’s will for your life right now. 
Stop asking why and start asking what
What can you do?
What can you enjoy?
What can you change?
What does God want you to do with your singleness?
So let’s shut the lies up shall we ladies? Life is good. Single life can be good. And we can embrace it for whats it worth. 
Enjoy life. Love. Be joyful. Pour out into the world what God is pouring into you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Ok to Not Be Ok

Have you ever seen those Christian skits? 
You know the ones. 
The ones where someone is trapped. All wrapped up in chains. And they can’t break free. 
The chains are usually depression, sadness, alcohol, drugs. 
You know the ones.
But it’s a Christian skit.  
Jesus comes and His love breaks all the chains.

They are actually pretty powerful. Especially if you are wrapped up in chains. 
I’ve seen them a lot in different camps/retreats I’ve been too.
But beyond that, I’ve never given a lot of thought to those skits.
Until now.
Today they are all I have thought about. 
Probably because I have my own chains right now. 
They just do not seem as easy to break as they do in a skit at camp, where at the end of the song, the girl who has been abused is suddenly healed by love.
I have heard a lot about spiritual warfare. Especially in the last 2 or 3 years.
I had never experienced it though. So I didn’t really understand.
Now I do.
I understand that lies are plaguing my mind constantly. 
I understand that I have the worst attitude ever. Towards everything. Even friends. Even church.
I understand that instead of my usual persona of wanting to be with people all the time, I would rather go home, shut off my phone and be alone.
I understand that some days I have no desire at all to go to church or bible study or small group.
I understand that my writing has suffered immensely.
I understand that my ability to mentor young women has been diminished by my own self righteousness.
I understand what it must have been like for Eve in the garden. Believing one little lie... that is all it takes.
I understand night terrors, shame, panic attacks, accountability, and openness. On a whole other level.
And this is why I write tonight. 
Because something, deep down inside of me--where I know the truth is striving to get out, believes that this is bearing fruit... that this... this is what God has called me to do.
I’ve heard before that Satan attacks us the most when we are exactly where God wants us to be. He doesn’t have to try for our soul--he knows that’s not his. 
But he sure as hell can distract us. 
These chains that plague me, that have made these last 3 months... one of the hardest battles I’ve ever fought... aren’t drugs, aren’t alcohol, aren’t even depression all the time. 
They are stress. 
They are business.
They are a hectic life.
They are loneliness.
They are time management.
They are envy.
They are bad attitude.
They are selfishness.
They are singleness.
They are self doubt.
They are little things that when they add all up together, become HUGE things.
Getting in the word, surrendering your heart, checking your motives and your heart and your attitude every single day... that helps. 
Accountability is key. That need to have someone to check on you. Even if it annoys you, and makes you frustrated and makes you ashamed.
Going even when you don’t want to go. Don’t stop your life. Don’t let yourself pull away. This is where the accountability comes in handy.
Try hard--really, really hard--to not snap at your friends and family. They love you. They care.
Shame is the hardest part to overcome. Once I admitted how ashamed I was about how I was feeling.. I was almost sick thinking about the shame Jesus felt for me on a cross.. naked. I want to hide some days. He couldn’t.  #humbled 
It’s ok to not be ok.
And its ok to say that. 
I’m not ok. 
My life is good. My life is some days, so incredible someone should write a book about it. 
But I’m constantly fighting. And I get tired. 
But I have learned, that even though I am so very weak, fighting off these lies and these demons that satan keeps attacking me with... God’s spirit lives inside of me. 
I need Him.
I need grace. I need my heart changed. I need to be broken. I need love to break these chains. I need faith.
I may be weak. But I know, His spirit is strong in me. 
Even when--especially when--I’m not ok. 
And that’s ok.