Spiritual Gold Digger

No, this post is not about Kanye West nor his feud with Taylor Swift. I’m sorry to disappoint. It is rather, a post about your relationship with God and the place you stand with him.

I thought about this upon reading a book I stumbled upon in Half Price Books one day called, “Angry Conversations with God”. In this wonderful book (Go read it.. seriously.. I picked it up for $2)… the main character Susan, goes to couples counseling with God. Boy does she need it. The book is overcome with all kinds of sarcasm, greed, misfortune, and heartbreak. But when I got to thinking what made me any different, I couldn’t fathom up an answer.

The main purpose comes to a head towards the end of the book when Susan gets mad at God for not giving her the life she wanted and prayed for. The problem was she felt more entitlement from God than intimacy. Suddenly, she can’t hear his voice anymore, she loses her job, her boyfriend, and finds herself with no one. Do you ever remember being small and begging your parents for something and getting no as an answer? I could whine, complain, and give my parents the cold shoulder for hours until I was blue in the face. Why? Because I thought I had DESERVED what I wanted.

Maybe you’re a little like Susan. If you came into this marriage with God because you thought his purpose for you was power, money, and glory… you my friend are a spiritual gold digger. I promise I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, and I don’t want to step on any toes. But do you really think you are so holy as to tell your Lord how to do his job?! If you are sitting there whining and pouting because He’s not giving you what you think He’s promised, are you saying you are holier and wiser than He?

If that’s you and that’s the God you married. Divorce him. WHAT? Divorce God? What is she sayin I thought this was a spiritual blog?! It is. I encourage you to be an active follower of Christ. But you’ve married Him for the wrong reasons, and you can not seek His love when it is not everything you want from Him. So step back and marry God because He is love. Marry Him and make disciples. BE a disciple.

I’m not saying that in your relationship with Him that you won’t find yourself calling out, asking what in the heck is going on in your life. I’m not saying you won’t feel like everything in your life has been burnt to ashes. I’m not saying that there will be days you will call on God and you will not hear a voice back. I am saying actively seek the Lord for who He is not what you want from him.

In the book they discuss how easy it is to get angry at God in the “Dark Night’s of the Soul”. How frustrating to feel like God wants us to climb a mountain after he has just burnt down our home and left us all alone. I heard a pastor one time use the analogy of cinder blocks, and it’s one that will always live in my mind. When we sin, or ignore God, or walk away from time to time, we start to build these heavy cinder blocks up into a wall. And it’s not that God is getting farther away from us or walking away, it’s that we have built this wall so high we can’t hear him as well anymore. We start to believe that maybe He just isn’t listening. BUT MY DEAR FRIEND NO. YOU hold the power to break down that wall.

I know it’s frustrating to feel all alone but the same God who breathed life into the valley of dust and dry bones and breathed new life will breathe life back into YOU. I know because I too have had my fair share of dark night’s of the soul. But trust me when I tell you that taking a sledge hammer to your cinder block wall will be the best decision you ever made. He is there with his arms wide open. *cue Hillsong Worship Song*

Trust in the Lord because He is the creator. Sometimes His plan may not be what you want for yourself, but actively seek Him anyway. He knows what’s good for you more than you do, remember that. Do not whine when you don’t get what you want, what He wants for you is much greater than what you could’ve planned or yourself. Put Him before it all.

“The climactic moment is: Am I going to trust God when there is nothing else? Will I go up to the top of the mountain even if there is no trail?”
“So are you going to go up the mountain?” Andrea asked.
“I have to ! I’d rather die on the mountain than lie around in Death Valley.”
“How will you know it’s God when you see him?”
“I’ll know him from every dream I’ve dreamed, every conversation I’ve imagined. I’ll know him by every longing for love or rumor of beauty; it will be there right on his face.”
“How do you know you’ll get there?”
“Because there’s nowhere else I want to go.”

– Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs

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To the Lonely Girl,

I’ve written about you before, and I promise I’m not picking on you. I just have a story I feel I need to share with you. When I met Christian (my fiancé) we both had so many idols in our life. Alcohol, clothing, parties, just to name a few. I had been lonely for so long that I had strategically placed things in my #1 spot, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t. Because if I was going out having a good time than I was doing okay, I was “single and loving life.” Or at least convincing myself I was okay when really I was struggling to keep my head above water. But when I met Christian, things were different. I fell head over heels with this sweet, funny, charming young man and suddenly.. he became my #1.

You’re probably thinking… okay great, thanks for rubbing that in my face. Like thanks Ally that’s exactly what I wanted to read, your stupid love story. But that’s not the point of this at all. If you were to ask me where God was on my priorities list in the first couple months I had been dating Christian. I probably couldn’t have given you an answer because I don’t think he made the cut at all. That isn’t Christian’s fault, I just thought growing up that if you love someone you were supposed to give them every single part of you and that’s what I did. I consumed myself with him and he did the same with me. I lost my relationship with Christ because I didn’t “leave room for Jesus”. I become more concerned with worshipping my relationship than worshipping God.

But a relationship without God, doesn’t have much of a foundation to stand on. How was I supposed to know how to love Christian, when I didn’t even know how to love my Lord? That may sound crazy, but I wanted to love Christian the way the Lord loves me and at that time neither of us really knew how. And when earthly idols started to get in the way of each other, things started to crumble a little.

GASP.. says the crowd. Well how are you engaged now? I thought this was a love story? It is. We both took a step back to look at our relationship and we felt like something was missing. I think for a long time we kept trying to fill it with earthly things and struggled communicating what we both needed. Until we both realized it was God. When God is at the center of your relationship, things start to piece together. How great to love a man who reminds me to spend time with my Lord everyday. How grateful I am to love a man who shows me mercy and grace when I make mistakes. How humbling it is to put my pride aside sometimes and watch him do the same because it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in an argument but that we are humble like the big guy upstairs.

“Matthew had been married for five years when his marriage began to struggle. He took his concerns to the Lord and asked Him to supernaturally infiltrate his circumstances. While searching the Scripture, Matthew was reminded of how God had given His life for him even when he didn’t deserve it. He knew God was asking him to love his wife the same way he was loved by God:  unconditionally and completely. Matthew asked the Lord to allow him to see his wife through the Lord’s eyes. He emerged from his time with the Lord and noticed a change. His wife was the same, his marriage was the same, but he was different. God’s voice had changed him. He saw his wife in a brand new way. Thirty-five years later, this couple testifies to the changing power of God’s word.”

How amazing is it to love someone through the eyes of the Lord. Nothing has changed in my relationship from the early struggles except that we both made the decision to stop idolizing earthly things, and put God before anything.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

I was lonely like you. Ask all of my friends, I was boy crazzyyyy in high school (sorry mom). I put love on a pedestal because I convinced myself that being single for the rest of my life was the scariest thing that this world has to offer. But I’ve learned, that choosing anything before God, is way scarier than that. Actively search for Him. Make him your #1 goal. Take time to “Date God” and put aside alone time with Him everyday. Because when the right guy does come along, and he will, you want the creator of the universe to be there through it all. I can’t tell you indescribable it is to wake up everyday and know that the man laying next to me loves me through the eyes of my Lord.

So if that’s you, if you feel like you can’t keep your head above the water. You’ve treaded just about as much as you can and you’re just exhausted. Don’t look for anything else to save you. Stop looking for a man to be your knight in shining armor. Don’t reach for the bottle of vodka because it convinces you might be okay. Look up. Fall in love with the word of God and find a man who falls in love with that. I saw a post yesterday from a friend that said, “You should be actively searching God so much, that a man has to find him to get to you.” How true that is. It’s okay to find love, to get swept off your feet, even in times of struggle. But it does you no good to leave God in the cloud of dust.

peace and blessings XOXOX

 

Green Light

I took the time today to re-read a chapter out of a book I got a couple months ago called “Simply Tuesday” by Emily Freeman. She writes, “I say I have faith, things hoped for but not seen, but when I really burrow down deep into my soul, I wonder. Faith doesn’t mean waiting for understanding or clarity. Faith means trusting God in the midst of misunderstanding and lack of clarity.”

She goes on to say, and this is my favorite line, “Sometimes faith feels like nothing.”

Why is this my favorite line you ask? Well thank you kind stranger let me elaborate. Over the years I have confused the word clarity with the word peace. I have caught myself time and time again asking God during prayer for clarity on pop ups in my life. Yes, I call them pop ups, why? Because they’re messy, and get in the way of my ultimate goal either by slowing down the process or freezing up my timeline. Isn’t it frustrating? It’s easy to blame God for letting things in the way or what you’re working towards. Anyway, I was begging for answer after answer on what he wanted me to do. Sometimes I just want God to flash a big sign that says, “GO THIS WAY ALLY!” or “WATCH OUT”.

Which pegs the question, if I’m waiting for a green light from God, what does that look like? For me, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes, my green light, comes from sitting. I’ll repeat that line again, “Sometimes faith feels like nothing.” I’m not trying to be cliché or go all Carrie Underwood on you folks, but Jesus please take the wheel. I find the most “CLARITY” and I’m using that word right now, from just sitting and giving it all to God in the midst of my struggles.

One of my favorite stories of the Bible comes from Luke 10:38, and it’s the story of Martha and Mary.

“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Raise your hand if you’ve found yourself being more like Martha than Mary! *insert sassy girl emoji* Time and time again I’ve found that I have a hard time just sitting down with God soaking in His word. It’s become almost as if we want God to work and move in our life but only in big ways. I want him to speak to me, but I want it to be dramatic. Where is my message sent through a burning bush? It becomes unfair when we hear of God working in other peoples lives when we feel like we’ve done everything we can do and ask of God and we feel as though they haven’t been as faithful. But have you sat down with Him? Have you sat in silence and just listened and meditated on his word? Or do you wake up in the morning and open Facebook and indulge in the word of your peers? Hey, I’m guilty. Ask my fiancé, I have trouble getting off of my social media too.

If we as Christians don’t take time away from our busy lives to meditate on His word, how will we know when He is speaking to us? Priscilla Shirer says, “The more scripture you have hidden in your heart, the more opportunity He will have to bring it to your mind and direct you. Our goal should be to saturate ourselves in His word.” Be a biblical sponge. Absorb as much of His glory and truth as you can.

I know what you’re thinking.. how the heck did she end up talking about scripture AGAIN when we were supposed to be determining what a green light looked like? But my friend, that’s just it. Spend your time reading scripture and learning how to discern God’s voice instead of convincing yourself that you feel peace about a situation so it “must” be God. There is no probably or maybe with God. He IS the way, the truth, and the life.

So get off of Facebook, take a break from your busy schedule, and sit down on a park bench. Get out your bible. Listen to the words He spoke, to the lessons He taught and the miracles he created. You are one of them darling.

“Colossians 3:15 says that the peace of God should rule our hearts, not our circumstances. We can’t depend on what our circumstances say to determine what God is doing. We must always look inward first and move according to the Holy Spirit’s witness in accordance with God’s Word. When peace rules in our hearts we can confidently move forward regardless of what external circumstances look or feel like and regardless of what others say.”

God is your green light. So go.

peace and blessings XOXOX

 

Buckle Up

Sorry about no post yesterday on here, but I think I needed the reminder that things are not always wrapped in a tight little bow. Yesterday I went with my mother just to look around at David’s Bridal for dresses and to get an idea of what I wanted. Little did I know, I would end up trying on a couple and find THE ONE. I was so overcome with emotions and tears because I finally felt like a bride and my mother felt it too.

Picture perfect right? Wrong. I had no idea that just three hours later I would be sitting in a parking lot in the dark of night with my fiance trying to change my flat tire. In that moment, I had the decision to let that circumstance ruin my day, ruin my entire moment. I could have let it steal the joy I felt just a few hours earlier and being a person with intense anxiety, I had a million questions running through my brain. What time does Tire Discounters open? Will they be able to fix it or will I need an entire new tire? Can we afford to do all of this, I mean we have so much to pay for?

My fiance drove me to Tire Discounters this morning even though he didn’t have to be up for work until 1. Tire Discounters fixed my tire for $26 and I was only ten minutes late for work. Why in the world am I giving you a play by play of my life? Because I got the reality check I needed. Our lives will never be nice and neat and there will be moments that try and steal your joy. It’s the same way with our relationship with God. Are you always going to be happy with what God is putting you through? No. You can get angry with God, you can yell and cry and bring it all to him. He can take it!

Did I want to be sitting in a parking lot at 12:30 at night when I had to be up early for work? No. But I learned how to work together with my fiance and when the tire was back on, I felt like we had successfully accomplished something. He will never put you through something for no reason. God’s ultimate goal is not to make you miserable and unhappy, that’s Satan. For a long time I thought I could only talk to God when I closed my eyes and prayed. But when I tell you that that is just the enemy getting into your ear, I mean it. God is always ready, arms wide open, ears ready, to listen to you.

James 1:12 (NIV) “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the victor’s crown, the life God has promised to those who love him.”

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Rom 8:37 (Jer) These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.

There are so many places in scripture where we are reminded of the power of the Lord our God. You will have bad days. There is no doubt about it. You will have days where everything feels like it’s going wrong and you just want to cry out, “WHY GOD WHY.” But know that through your trials and tribulations God is with you, and he is preparing you for something so much greater than you could ever imagine. A popped tire is something so small on a scale of bad things. But I still in the moment felt like I didn’t deserve that kind of trouble. The truth of it is, we didn’t deserve God’s love either, but we are so blessed with His love and grace.

When you become a Christian you are not promised rainbows and butterflies. When you become a Christian you vow to take on the pains of this world because He took away pain for us. Give it all to him, leave it all at his feet. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You are more than the messes you face in life. Don’t let your circumstances define you, let them be the boulder in which you climb to conquer the mountain. Shout His name from the top and spread His word. Remember it’s all in the journey and sometimes it’s going to get a little bumpy. Grab the ultimate user manual (BIBLE) and buckle up cutie.

peace and blessings XOXOX

I may be Weak

I’ve deleted this post 4 times now. Backspaced until I’ve refreshed my own screen, because although I am not comfortable with sharing, God won’t let me pipe down. I don’t feel like enough people talk about these problems in the church. Personally, I feel that a lot of Christians think that if you are a spiritual person and you have God as your “ride or die” if you will, that you shouldn’t have these feelings at all.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about anxiety and depression. If you’re about to exit out because “ew gross.. no one wants to read anything depressing”, I encourage you to hold your horses and listen. If you’re someone who is struggling, I encourage you to write down the scripture I’m about to share with you and never forget that you are NOT alone.

If you’re still reading this, I want you to know that it’s okay to “walk through the valley of darkness” from time to time. My senior year of high school, I don’t remember feeling much of anything except guilt. I felt SO guilty. How could I feel so inadequate when I was created in His image? I couldn’t even be a “good” Christian in my own eyes. It was hard to feel that I could tell anyone at church because I felt that my feelings were invalid. Have you ever expressed your sadness to someone and they responded with “well you shouldn’t feel that way”? Doesn’t do much for you, does it? Well it didn’t for me. I sank and sank, until I was begging God to take my life. A lot like Elijah in 1 Kings 19. If you aren’t familiar read for yourself,

“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am not better than my ancestors who have already died.”

How powerful those words are to me. Elijah fell asleep after his prayer and woke up to bread and water from God. He wasn’t finished with him yet, and he isn’t finished with you. Sometimes we all just need a reminder that we have a purpose on this Earth and this is yours. God isn’t finished with you yet, you are so much more than you could ever know in his eyes.

JESUS EXPERIENCED THIS FEELING TOO. Matthew 26:38 “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” TO THE POINT OF DEATH? How assuring to know that the Jesus has been in our shoes, that we aren’t so different after all?

If you’re struggling and you can’t find the light trust that God sees you struggling and he will not give you anything you cannot handle. On top of that, if you are continually struggling, do not be ashamed to seek help. And do me a favor, please don’t add guilt to your heavy burdens. You are not alone in this, and you will never be. Being sad or anxious does not make you any less of a Christian. It’s a fact of life that we will feel brokenness  in this broken world. Just remember if you feel like you can’t stand on your own two feet, His hands are always open to help you back up. You just have to trust in Him. You are so beautiful my darling, so let me leave you with this….

Psalm 73:21-26

“Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant-
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health my fail, and mu spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.”

peace and blessings XOXO

Spiritual Skinny Jeans

Today I cheated on the thing I told myself I would be 100% committed to because it would “make me feel so much better”. No, not my fiancé you crazy people. I cheated on my diet. I caved faster than I could even realize the consequences of my actions and basically licked all the calories off of my plate. In the moment, it was what I wanted; I indulged. But after an hour I felt more guilty than I have felt in a long time. And I got to thinking that maybe my relationship with temptations in this world and my obedience to God wasn’t so different from my diet.

Think of it this way, when we decide to be a follower of Christ we decide to be obedient to His word. Let’s refer to that as our “spiritual skinny jeans” if you will. Maybe your jeans fit a little too snug and you’ve decided to be obedient to what God wants you to do instead of listening to your own conscience. There is a difference between your conscience and the Holy Spirit… but that’s a blog post for a different time and different day. Anyway, so you want your spiritual skinny jeans to fit and you want to walk comfortably on His path for you. You begin to exercise your relationship through prayer, community, and passages and grow your faith.

HERES THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. The world will never stop throwing Earthly temptations your direction. Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean Lisa won’t eat that slice of cake in front of you in the break room (Darn you Lisa). It parallels with, just because your friend goes out and parties every night doesn’t mean you have to tag along. If you continue to feed yourself earthly junk food and give in to what your body tells you it wants, you’ll always be trying to fit God into places where you haven’t left room for him.

Here’s another way to view it too. A lot of us think that as long as we choose God at any point that it’s okay. I’m not saying that he doesn’t give us grace because oh boy is he so good to us in that aspect. We are so fortunate that our God sees our ugliness and our steps off the path and still calls for us to follow him. But, when we try to live our life the way WE want and fit him in when it’s convenient, are we truly being as obedient as we should be? You can’t buy a pair of size 0 skinny jeans when you know your a size 6 and expect them to fit.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. H will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” – 1 Corinthians 11:12-13

Paul gave the Corinthians such encouragement about the temptations of the world. God helps you recognize the temptation and then the courage to face it. Surround yourself my darling with friends who love God and offer his word as a way to curb your appetite from the temptations you face everyday. They will never go away, but you will get stronger. God has your back. I have your back. You are so loved by the Lord our God.

peace and blessings XOXOX

Just my Luck

“The truth is my slowness is not a fault or a sin, but fighting it might be. I tend to think my limitations are my burdens but perhaps they are actually my gifts if I’m willing to see them that way.”    – Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman

I’ve found myself lately yelling out “Just my Luck” every time I don’t get the results I want. It might have started somewhere in junior high when I had to run the mile and I couldn’t even run it in 12 minutes. How embarrassing right? Every kid in my class was watching as I huffed and puffed my way around the track and I FAILED. How was it so easy for all of them? As immature as it sounds, I blamed God. How come they all got to be created athletic and I got thick gymnastic legs and smoker lungs?!

That may sound insane but I bet you do it. You get frustrated with what God has given you when you see what he’s given your neighbor. Proverbs 16:9 says “We can make our own plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” I have my days where I know that I am not in control. When I watch person after person excel in life and I just cry out asking God why he would want me here of all places? It’s hard to see what He has given you when all you want to focus on is what he hasn’t.

Moses was 80 before he saw the burning bush and was called on by God. For 80 years God was equipping him with characteristics that would one day be utilized. Take a look at Jeremiah; he had no money, no family, no friends, and he was ignored by the people of Judah. We all look at ourselves sometimes and think of how much better life would be if we had more of those things. It’s easy to get caught up in “Well if I just had more…… I would be happy.” But though Jeremiah had nothing to offer it seemed to his peers, he had so much to offer to God. In his obedience, faithfulness, and righteousness he was a success in the Lord’s eyes.

Do you ever take a second everyday to offer your masterpieces and your MESSES to God? For years, I was bitter about circumstances in my life until I realized that I had been instilled such patience towards people because of it. I’m talking.. “10 minutes late for work but still let the other car out in front of me” patient. And what a blessing it is to know that my messes and my circumstances were stepping stones God used to equip me for works of art in the future.

Here is a prayer from the book I quoted above, Print this out or write it on an index card and tape it to your mirror. Remind yourself everyday that you are unique for a reason.

“We confess our tendency to look for our identity in every face but yours. We long to know how we measure up compared to someone else. Take our comparison and give us compassion, for others as well as for ourselves. Reveal to us our eight-foot assignments and remind us that we aren’t responsible to control the world, only to bring the cares of those eight feet into your capable hands. Help us to embrace the shape of our own design, being ever mindful that you have made us as we are even as we are being transformed into your likeness. May we stop trying to wring out our own brand of humanity. Rather may we trust you to show yourself through our unique personalities.”

peace and blessings XOXO