Are you one that has a shaky relationship with your earthly father?
Are you one that struggles with believing that you can even be loved by our heavenly Father?
Are you one that struggles with overeating, no matter how hard you try to let it go, or even though you may know what to do?
Are you one that knows how to build a wall without bricks and motar?
Are you one that has a hard time truly receiving love from your Husband?
Oh sis, I get it. I can relate to all of the above plus some! About a year ago, a friend sent me a link to a movie that was coming out at the beginning of the year’. I wasn’t familiar with it right away, but Holy Spirit began to speak through it the trailer. I was taken back to a book I had seen on a shelf by one of my favorite Authors. Redeeming Love. So I began to read some of the comments from the trailer, and all I could see, comment after comment, was praise about the book and praying that the movie would be just as good. I saw so many saying that the book changed their life and were excited for the movie. I found myself in tears and in awe of how the Lord was speaking to me and the revelation of what was has been going on.
That same day, we went out to purchase the book. The book that was usually highlighted every time I was looking at books by Francine Rivers in the book store.
I went through it and couldn’t put it down. It was such a beautiful story based on the book of Hosea and it grabbed at my heart strings as the Lord was showing me his love in a deeper way, with a story that went into Hosea on a new a level.
**I am not promoting watching this movie, I recommend we guard our eye gates. I saw in a preview and read reviews that there are a few risque scenes. I believe we must be honest in all we do no matter if the world considers it and “adult” thing. We are set apart in every way**
A few weeks after that, a few friends were gathered around for some girl time and the Lord met us in the middle of our struggles and poured out His truth to us. It was a bit crazy as we would talk about a struggle, and then I would ask a question, He would speak, we would pray and ask for forgiveness and this kept happening until we got down to the root of our eating habits.
Why do we over eat? Good food can be comforting. It can be numbing, eat a lot and we are pretty much good for nothing other than a good nap, and then we end up in a cycle of overeating as it kind of becomes an addiction.
He was showing us that we didn’t know how to receive his love, so subconsciously we were engaging in overindulgence as we tried to escape some pain that has been deeply rooted.
I had been hearing this in my spirit: Don’t let earthly “daddy issues” keep you from receiving My Love – the love of the One True Father.
We may have earthly fathers that have not stepped up to the plate to show us the love of a true Father, but we can find freedom in that when we can recognize and come to the truth that we have a heavenly Father that sees us and has a love so much greater than man could ever give.
God loves us, and he has been showing me so many of his children do not know how to receive his love. His love is far greater, beyond anything you can imagine. You are a DAUGHTER and a SON, no matter what your earthly daddy saw you as. Allow the Lord to walk you through forgiveness so you can keep moving forward to what he has in store for you.
Forgiveness may have to be a thing you do often and on repeat, but don’t allow what happens in the natural realm, give you a tainted perspective of Heavenly Father. Its a process that can not be done on your own. The pain can be so deeply rooted, and He is the only one that can carry you in the midst of healing.
He wants to hold you and show you his love. So find space to let go and let HIM in. He will take you in, take you deeper and mend every broken space within your heart. His light is so great that it will burst through all the hiding places to bring healing and freedom.
“but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:8 ESV
We can be enslaved in a place where our spirit is longing for something so beautiful, but our flesh likes to think it knows best. So, without deeper thinking, its easy to skip over the roots trying to live our life without his powerful love that covers it all.
We can have knowledge that God loves us, and we can be walking healed to a certain extent, but even deeper there may be some wounds that are trying to stay hidden. Its not until we recognize how we are operating on a day to day basis, or if we find ourselves on a hamster wheel of the same issues.
Its not the easiest thing to let go of the reins to give yourself space to stand in the opening to be emptied of it all, for every wall to be broken and receive the beautiful love that permeates our very being, that brings healing, and truth.
When we allow The true Father to reveal truth to us on how He loves us and allow Him to speak to the depths of our spirit, we can understand how we can be consecrated to him on a deeper level.
It can be a little scary to lay it all out before him especially when we may have never shared the deep things in our heart with those close to us. I promise He is gracious to hold you in it all and never judges, but comforts and heals. He wants to blow on it all and walk you through the things that make you shake to your core.
Will we choose to say yes, no matter how scary it may feel, how many walls we may have built up, how much pushing away we have done?
Will we make true space for Him and allow Him to show us a completely different version of who we are?
When the Lord wants to speak to us, he won’t just dump it all out on us. He is gracious to walk us through little by little as we seek Him, as He pursues us. May we pay attention to those little nudges and connect the dots as things are revealed to us. As we pick up on them, we are on our way to stand in awe of our beautiful father that loves us so much. We will begin to see how he pursues us with His truth and how he so loves. He lavishes us with such a beautiful love. May we walk forward with our hearts open, hands open and ears open to receive every ounce He pours out.
Have you asked yourself that question before? Maybe even recently…
You want friends but you are quite comfortable hanging out with yourself, at the same time. Girlfriend I get it. I have called myself an introvert and so many times people will look at me and say, “um, no you are not!”
But that was because I was operating only in my own strength.
I had someone ask me how I was able to do what I do now, and I responded that only God was able to do this, to take this once shy girl and expand her beyond what she thought was possible.
There was a time when I stayed away from women in groups and you wouldn’t catch me in community. I would attend some events, but they were so hard. I felt alone in the room so many times, so I wouldn’t allow myself to stay.
I allowed past hurt and my own stinking thinking to keep me small. There were quite a few around me, but it was so much easier for this introvert to stick with 1 or 2 people.
One thing that keeps us out of community is fear of revisiting something that we have walked through in our past. Maybe you have been rejected by many groups of ladies, maybe you have felt as though you don’t belong with certain groups, maybe you have a hard time seeing yourself as worthy to sit at the table with others, maybe you have been taken advantage of in the past.
As we sit with it and think about all those things in the past that have hurt us, its easy to talk ourselves out of everything that God has for us and the people that he actually has set aside for us. But we will never get to meet them or get to know them when we wallow with the lies. I’m not saying the pain we have experienced is invalid nor am I saying that it doesn’t create wounds. What I am saying, is that we have to rise up from those wounds, so that we move forward.
When we feel alone in rooms with other people, its a trap to get us to retreat. When we retreat, we stay out of the light, out of rooms, and away from people.
When we are by ourselves all the time, it is 100% easier for negative thoughts, depression, anxiety, isolation, and so much more to settle in and keep us in a box. Its easy for the things we want absolutely no part of, to grow.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour“ 1 Peter 5:8
I kept coming back over and over again and those classes became my first form of community as an adult. I like to think of them as training grounds for what was to come, because I found myself beginning to encourage and speak life over ladies without even realizing.
Our gifts can start coming to life when we are in community. Not that we are showing off, but when in groups we begin to serve with our hearts and what’s at our core begins to rise up and we just operate freely.
But then I learned Kingdom truth and realized that we were CREATED to be in community. That’s where we grow, thrive, and are held accountable. It’s where we can encourage each other, share our struggles with each other, motivate one another and PRAY for one another.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…” Hebrews 10:24-25
When we are in community, in the kingdom, there will be people that do not play with satan and his minions. They will pray some stuff off us, call forth the good and cause anything that is lying dormant within us to come to life!
May we find courage to step outside of your norm and even the norm of what the world is telling us, to get into community because that’s how God designed us and out of obedience to him. The world has ZERO clue what’s best for us, God knows what’s best for us.
There is power in coming together in UNITY!
I get it that it can be exhausting especially when we truly enjoy time alone and may need alone time after being in groups with people, but as we walk with God, He is the one that can stretch our capacity. I used to retreat into my “cave” for a bit to recharge. It was all too much. Even though, I would show up quite nervous and then end up enjoying myself.
This past weekend, I reflected on how much God can stretch our capacity when we allow him. I had an amazing day and was just in awe and filled with joy! My Sunday was filled with so many people, and I never thought I would be able to handle this. From church, to a discipleship group luncheon, so many conversations with people I love…
It was a busy day, but it was filled to the brim with JOY!
I have to say community is everything. Operating on earth as we would in heaven is everything! Come together my friends, break up with the lies. We can begin to see yourself the way God sees us and begin to show up to sit at the tables with others, so that we begin to open up and let others in.
We don’t always have to know the people, we just have to trust God, when we have prayed for him to send us community, to put ourselves out there, to be curious and interested in others.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. Acts 2:46 (ESV)
Then, we will get to watch something beautiful unfold.
Much Love, Crystal Keefer
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Are you a coffee lover like me? Maybe you like tea, or hot apple cider. Whatever you love to get cozy with as you read, grab that. This one will take some time to dig into… I have been in quite a few conversations lately and there is one scripture that keeps coming up. Its the one where Jesus gets angry with merchants in the temple. Its not quite like the Jesus many people talk about and if we didn’t read the bible, we might not have known that was even in there if we are constantly hearing about a Jesus that is calm, cool and collected. ALL THE TIME.
But to know Jesus, is to know all parts of him. To know only parts of him, doesn’t let us in on all of his truth.
In the book of John, we find this story.
“And he told the merchants, ‘Get these things out of here! Don’t you dare commercialize my Father’s house!’. That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture: ‘I am consumed with a fiery passion to keep your house pure!’” John 2:16-17 TPT
We see that Jesus was willing to overturn some tables, and drive out the nonsense over the love for His father’s house. Not just love, but to honor and keep it pure, to keep it holy, to keep it as a temple where the Lord dwells. We see that he was willing to be the “watch dog” over the temple and anything that was to come to it that wasn’t right, he was going to fight for it, at all costs.
We have a lot of things in our lives to fight for. Things worth fighting for, but have we gone blind to the value they each hold?
Just as Jesus fought for the temple, could we fight for our churches too? Could we have that fiery passion within us to want the church held up with honor, love, purity, holiness and righteousness? Could we fight for her, the bride, the church, to be THE place that is untouchable by worldly standards? Could we get a bit fired up when the world is trying to dictate what we should do when it comes to the bride of Christ, which is The Church?
The Church is one that is to be guarded and protected, just as Jesus guarded the temple. When things are being done behind closed doors that are wrong, will we have that passion and boldness to speak up regardless of what others around us will think?
Our temples, as in our bodies, just as Jesus mentioned in verse 19 of John 2:
“After you destroy this temple, I will raise it up in three days”,
are valuables in our lives and we get to care for it. Its a gift. Our marriages, our children, our homes, they are all valuables in our lives, but so many times we fall into worldly ways of talking about them more than getting down in the mess with them to fight for them.
On the topic of marriage, I am not going to dig into all the issues because some have to be left in the hands of God. But along the lines of growing in marriage with communication, loving each other, honoring each other, etc, how are we guarding every area of our marriages? Temptation and lust are always knocking at the door. There are things we actually do, but we think are blameless, they can open the door for other things to come in, allowing temptation to look at you straight in the face.
This world operates in marriage a certain way, but when we are followers of Christ, let’s actually follow him and not have one foot in the door and one foot out. God wants us to be all in, not lukewarm or halfway. So when we make a commitment to him in marriage, have realized what we are stepping into? Have we made up our minds ahead of time, that this union is something we value with passion and its so important to us that we will do whatever is necessary to protect it?
Will we guard our marriages as something as precious as the Church itself?
Listen, the adversary is on standby, roaming around looking for things to destroy.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Anything that is good, anything that increases our power here on earth, or anything operating in unity, is right up the alley for destruction because God gave us authority that not even angels have. And there is one in particular that gets furious. There is nothing like the bride and her groom operating in the kingdom with a firm foundation build on biblical principles and purity with honor, glorifying God! The very thing Satan hates!
What does guarding our marriages look like?
When things come knocking at the door, will we remember how precious our marriage is?
Are we willing to throw down like Jesus did as he protected the temple or will we open the door so easily and allow destruction to come in and sit with you on the couch because it felt too hard to deal with straight away. Things can appear like they are harmless, but listen to that discernment that signals a red flag. Its when we ignore the red flags and brush things off, that we end up in places that we never wanted to be. Did I mention the adversary being on standby? He will use people to temp you and wrap them in packages that feel non threatening.
I pray we come to the realization that there is boldness in courage within us to do hard things. That there is fight in us. Even if it takes a lot out us, we can choose to be willing. There is that fiery passion that burns within us to fight for what is ours and not allow it to be snatched from us.
We can take true ownership and authority over the gifts we have been entrusted with. May we guard them and honor them. Its easy to take them for granted, but we will be the ones that have eyes to see what’s in front of us and acknowledge the blessings from our good Father, right?
Our children are such beautiful gifts from God and its pretty much a given that we understand how valuable they are. In certain areas we tend to guard and have more awareness of the value of something and in other areas, it doesn’t always cross our mind or we have a different perspective with those areas.
As parents, we have tremendous responsibility to care for these little humans aside from ourselves, and we know this is not an easy journey. A lot of times we have the job of taming our younger selves. And if you are anything like me with a teenage, “mini” walking around like your personal mirror, you probably wish more than anything you could go back to your teenager days and apologize to your mama!
So we know that physical protection is usually there (in some homes we know this is not the case), but what about mental and emotional protection? What about worldly or environmental protection?
I am going to say this as black and white as I possibly can, we as followers of Christ are not supposed to engage in everything the world is doing. We have been set apart and have been bought at a price. So, if we feel that we are missing out or if everyone, except us has this cool thing, or if we are not fitting in, we MUST have tools of truth in our tool belt to combat worldly temptations. When we know better, we are to do better.
Many times we don’t “know any better” because there has been a lack of discipline to go after the truth (Jesus), that is tugging at our hearts and what our hearts are actually longing for, in order to build a consistent relationship, so that the truth can begin to come alive in us. And there is no shame or condemnation in that, but more so to reflect on how we are living our lives as believers.
With that being said, the enemy is standing by even more so for our babies to catch them and reel them in at a young age. Through tv, through electronics, through friendships with others, through bullying, and even through people they look up to.
How can we build up our tool box to have the truth waiting for them or even better, to tell them truth ahead of time, as we constantly teach them the truth by the way we live and what we stand for along with what we do not stand for?
Sadly, many times we don’t have any standards, because we haven’t done our homework. But listen, it is not too late. Start digging in and begin to partner with God for him to show you, teach you and guide you into all truth. Choose to be receptive and obedient to what is revealed. We have a race to run and it is going to take the armor of Truth (God) to run well. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Emotional and mental protection of our children is crucial and you know what, they will give us a hard time, and argue, while throwing tantrums. Some may even try to guilt us or manipulate us to get their way, but we get to make a decision ahead of time that we are the parents and remember that it is our responsibility to raise them up in the way they should go, so that they won’t part from it, right? Just I mentioned about temptation that comes knocking at the door in marriage, it comes knocking at the door with our children as well. If we are not careful, we will blindly hand them over with the mindset of this world, “oh, its just what kids are doing these days”, or “the kids won’t let me take away x,y, & z”, or “they just want to do nothing, but stay on that game all day”.
There are so many things we say about situations to mask the fact that we are not truly passionate about guarding every area of our babies hearts, minds and lives.
Our children have such beautiful gifts inside of them that are that are to be nurtured, cultivated and held dear with that fiery passion in order to keep them pure. As Jesus told his disciples, greater things they would do than he, our children will have the ability to do even greater things than us because of the power and gifts inside of them. They will be able to do more because we would have plowed the field before them, but they would get to benefit from our laboring on their walk with the Lord.
Think about it this way, if we had Jesus as a kid, like he was our baby and we KNEW the gifts and power that was in him, how would we keep that safe, him safe, and keep him guarded from the ways of this world?
We would probably be on it, 100%. We would know that some things shouldn’t come near him, we would take that responsibility to heart as we parent. We would see that responsibility as extra special, as guarding something precious and we would be extremely passionate about every aspect, would we not?
Listen, our children will think they know best on more than one occasion, and the attitudes will come, but we can choose to stand strong and allow Holy Spirit to lead us. We can choose to get fired up with a passion to guard the children God created and the gifts that have been placed inside them. We can choose to help them cultivate everything within them and grow.
Remember we are the parents. God chose us for this job and allowed us to birth them. It wasn’t the other way around. They didn’t birth us. The guilt from the adversary will come because if you think about it, what would someone do to in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy something? They would come at all angles in order to accomplish their goal and do everything possible to deceive and lead others astray. They would come with a strategy like a thief in the night, but be watchful, be able to discern what’s going on and stand firm on the truth.
I mentioned the gifts in our children, but when our children grow up, what do they become?
They become an adult. If you are reading this, there is an amazing chance you are an adult, so if you are an adult, what exists inside of you?
Talents and gifts!
Oh my goodness friends, the gifts that have been placed inside of us are so beautiful and worth fighting for! From childhood to adulthood, so many of us have faced some hard things that have tried to destroy us. Some of us know and have an idea of our purpose, gifts, or calling, while many of us do not. If you don’t its okay, don’t dwell on it. Its just a beautiful invitation to partner with God on a deeper level and allow Him to reveal so much more to you.
I didn’t always know what I know now, I didn’t know what was inside of me, I didn’t know how to guard my heart, but as I learned more about who I am in Christ and how he created me, I learned more about what was inside of me. As I developed and intimate relationship with God, I began to understand and see the strategies of the enemy and how things came against me as an attempt to destroy me, to kill my joy and steal my happiness and my peace.
If I were to loose all of that, I wouldn’t be able to operate in my gifts to pursue my calling and fulfill my destiny. You see, we have been given everything we need in order to do what we have been designed to do.
As mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety along with trauma from the past, try to destroy us, its crucial that we as believers align ourselves up with the truth of His word. We must take scripture and apply it to ourselves so that the truth can reign in our life. Not the thoughts that want to exalt themselves above the true knowledge of God.
Take every though and hold it captive…
“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.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
How can we become fed up enough, bold enough, passionate enough, burning with fire, to protect everything within us that the adversary has tried to destroy?
When we begin to realize the value, the power, how important it is to protect everything to keep it pure, and how God has plans to give us hope and a future,
“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
that God has not set out to destroy us, but that there is the adversary that has set out to do so, we can begin to understand the truth. Our eyes will begin to see and we will know its worth keeping pure and worth fighting for.
When we can begin to see how the hand of the enemy comes for everything in our lives, we get fired up. We get fed up with the nonsense and we begin to roar. That’s how Jesus was when he found out the merchants were selling oxen, lambs, and doves for money in the temple!
He found a rope, made it into a whip to drive out every ounce of impurities. He flipped the tables and was so done with them. He wanted the temple to remain the holy place and pure.
He had that fiery passion that consumed him. That passion was embedded in him to protect it at all costs. The temple was holy, it was to be honored, and it was to be glorified. Not a place where we just shrug our shoulders and say “meh”, and keep on rolling.
Certain things in life “meh”, can be used, but with the temple, our marriages, our children, our gifts, and our bodies, its not to be used.
May we find passion, courage and bravery to go after the valuable gifts in our lives to keep them all pure, to protect them and to guard them with honor.
May we be like a bull on fire when things come to our attention and when a red flag is signaling an area to be guarded.
When I was younger, I had no idea that the term “gifts” was a thing for something that we had been given. Something that could be developed and would turn into something beautiful. Something, if we were brave and courageous enough to say yes to, receive and cultivate, would bring God glory and advance his kingdom. I had no idea that the things we desired, visited and thought about often were actually the things that were probably going to be a part of our life in the future.
I have heard the inner cries of women around me. There is this inner cry of women wanting to step into more, but fear, the voices and opinions of others, and societal expectations cripple us more than anything.
I have felt the struggles and seen the setbacks. I have seen the effect of the lies we have been fed. Those lies disrupt our belief system and kill our confidence. We are hearing that we should step into who we are, but there are so many blocks and its so hard.
The biggest cry is we don’t even know what we carry. We don’t know what’s truly inside of us.
We may have had a glimpse, or maybe its right there in front of our faces, but we constantly play it down, even talking negative over it. We get stuck in this trap of, we are a nobody and that what we bring to the table is no good. There may have been a time when we were younger and someone came to you, telling you their opinion of you or your gifts and talents, crushing the little bit of confidence you were holding on to. So you walked away feeling defeated and actually believed them.
Listen, the enemy wants you to be destroyed. He knows that what God created was beyond great and it terrifies him to the core. What God created was YOU and he called you GOOD. So because the enemy knows what is good, he doesn’t want you to step into any of it. He doesn’t want us to know what we carry, so he sends out confusion, distraction, people to get us to stop in our tracks, obstacles to get off track, anything in his little bit of power he thinks he has to accomplish his will. He comes to steal, kill and destroy.
And in this area of his schemes, he wants to destroy your gifts so that you will never rise to true knowledge of what is inside of you. He wants to deceive you like no other.
If he can deceive you, he can trick you into thinking you have nothing to offer, your past will be displayed to you over and over, your mistakes, your brokenness will make you feel like you will never be able to rise up, you will begin to shrink back and hide. You will be made to believe there is something wrong with you.
BUT GOD. But God has you and knows who he created. He constantly pursues you, nudging you.
His love fiercely chases you down, and he wants you to know the truth.
The truth is that there are gifts that were placed inside of you. Beautiful gifts were given to you to set you apart, but yet make up this beautiful kingdom as a whole.
It is the same Holy Spirit who continues to distribute many different varieties of gifts. The Lord Yahweh is one, and he is the one who apportions to believers different varieties of ministries. The same God distributes different kinds of miracles that accomplish different results through each believer’s gift and ministry as he energizes and activates them. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
So, maybe somewhere along the way you have ventured away from who you truly are, but God is calling you back to his heart. He is calling you into his truth. He is calling you deeper. He wants to partner with you and reveal so much to you. He wants to tell you more about who he is and how much he loves you. Jesus wants you to bring you back to your original design because out of that is where we will be able to operate at our fullest. When we begin to understand who God is, and believe that he dwells inside of us, we will begin to have a greater understanding of who we are.
When we have that greater understanding of who we are in Christ, confidence begins to fill us and we are able to stand against all the things coming our way to get us off the path God has set us on. He wants to set us on that path with feet planted firmly in the truth.
“Jesus said, ‘I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.'” John 14:6
So as we begin to align ourselves with the truth (The Word of God/The Bible), as we seek Him OVER the lies, we are aligning ourselves up with who Jesus is and His spirit will pour out wisdom and knowledge, His spirit will teach us, lead us, comfort us and we will develop a deeper revelation, love and hunger. We will be opened up more to what’s inside of us. It won’t look anything like things of this world.
Your identity is in Christ Jesus and he wants you to walk in FREEDOM. We walk in freedom when we know the truth. We walk in freedom when we know what is inside of us. We walk in freedom when we operate as the person he created us to be. We walk in freedom when we accept and believe everything inside us is good, beautiful and such a gift. We walk in freedom when make a choice to go deeper with Jesus. We walk in freedom when we peel back the layers that have left us confined to ways of this world or religion and transform our way of thinking to align with the thoughts of God himself.
So, my beautiful sister, you were created by the master creator. Everything he created is very good!
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
I pray you choose to say yes to the invitation to go deeper with holy spirit and allow him to walk with you to unveil who you really are and what’s inside you.
Fear, opinions of others, ways of this world has no place at the feet of Jesus. It all must bow down to his name. It keeps us confined in a box, never allowing us to experience freedom or live our life to the fullest.
When you feel that nudging or a calling to go deeper with God or hear God speaking to you, don’t be afraid. We often think we must be qualified with some crazy high level skills or popular, in order to be used by Him, but God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
HE equips us.
“He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies. For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, so that there would be no place for prideful boasting in God’s presence. For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now he is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption.” 1 Corinthians 28-30
It may feel scary and big and beyond your comfort zone, but guess what? He doesn’t expect you to go full into the vision right then. He will take you into training little by little as you continue saying yes to the little things in obedience.
We have His power in us and when we activate in our gifts with our personality, our experiences, our testimonies and our faith, we can become this mighty force in the kingdom with fire burning inside us for Him. Those around us will begin to experience God through us. Its not about us, what we think we can or can not do, its always about Him. So when we begin to understand that, its easier to step into what He calls us to. The beautiful thing about it all is that He always blesses us too because of our obedience and His love and passion for us.
Saying yes to YOU doesn’t come without trials and tribulation, but it comes with a freedom, a joy and a peace that can be found no where else except from Jesus. I hope you are filled with awe and wonder as you pursue the journey set out before you and God reveals more of himself and of you to you.
When our daughter was smaller, pretty much ever since she stepped out into the world and entered kindergarten, I would tell her so often as she got out the car, “You are not a follower, you are leader. It doesn’t matter what other kids around you are doing do not engage in things that are wrong. You may feel left out and even pressured to join as everyone follows into trouble, but you stay out of it. You can show others how to do the right thing.”
Some people would call me crazy, but hey, the names people call me are not our problem right? So many underestimate the teaching we can give our children early on.
As adults, there is so much going on in life seeking our attention, pulling us in different directions.
Some good things, some bad things, some things that look good, some things that may be for someone, but just not for us. It will be so easy to get caught up in all the things, but I believe God calls us to great things, not the things that every one is doing. We are not to get involved with everything that looks good.
God has been teaching me about man’s heart in this season and the heart can be deceived even when it looks good. When we are not careful, we can set ourselves up when we dive knee deep into something we were never supposed to align ourselves with.
Being a leader takes courage and bravery. Leading does not look like following everyone. As we make a choice to do something different, many times we will be talked about. We may face judgemental eyes. We may loose some friendships. We may be ostracized. We may have to stand alone. People may turn on you.
Listen, none of that is ever fun, nor is it easy to face.
Those things that follow after making a decision to set yourself apart, can be the hardest to stand in. And this is where so many are not able to keep going forward as a leader, because people’s opinion of them means more than doing the hard thing. We all want to be a part of something. We want to feel accepted.
But there comes a time when we have to take a good look at what’s going on. We have to get to a place where we can pull our selves out the equation, pull ourselves back and look on from above as we observe what may be going on, as we discern the situation, as we partner with God and ask him if this something we are to be a part of or engage in. There may be a red flag flashing, but going head on can cause us more pain and strife in the future when we ignore the warning signs.
Pleasing people does not make our life any better. In fact it makes us suffer. We were created to have space in this life. Space for us to exist in all of who we are, but when we seek to people please, we are lowering our standards and dismissing our values to fit the standards of someone else.
I was reading the book of Mark (chapter 15) and when the people brought Jesus in, they were all shouting to crucify him. It states numerous times that so many just went with it because they didn’t want to stand alone with the truth. The religious leaders were willing to let an actual criminal go because they were so envious of Jesus and out of spite, they wanted him out of there.
Knowing Jesus had not done anything wrong, they wanted him dead any how.
One of the key phrases in this chapter was “because he wanted to please the people“. Because he, Pilate, the Roman governor wanted to please the people….
As a leader it was hard for him to stand up and stand against all the voices and shouting of the people who were WRONG, but he didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. He was fully aware of everything, but went through with what the people wanted and didn’t want to disappoint them
If we keep reading that chapter we will see person after person doing ridiculous things all in the name of following each other.
Can I encourage you to be brave and courageous? I believe we all have a level of discernment, and I believe God wants us to partner with him more than ever. Can we go back to him and ask what he wants us to do? Can we step back a little bit and begin to see what is going on before we say yes and engage into things? It will probably involve disappointing some people.
The world will tell us what we should do. The world will shout and scream in your ear, “go this way, do this or else”, condemn and shame us, and make us feel like an outcast.
Maybe someone has made you feel less than, called you a few names, disowned you for standing up to them or going a separate way from the world. Continue to stand tall and partner with God as He leads you.
You may be feeling a pull to go your own way, but your family wants you to take over the family business. Oh my, that looks and sounds wonderful, but God may be calling you to higher things. Its okay to lead a new path.
You may be feeling this cultural pull to do things like they have been done for generations, but you have this different way of thinking and may have felt like you never fit in any how, but you feel God leading you to step out. The voices of culture are shouting so loudly that it feels as though you are abandoning your people. Sis, its okay. God’s ways are higher. There is freedom in Jesus Christ. There is zero culture with him. Follow HIM.
You may be feeling so different for having opposing views of many around you. The thing about perspective is that usually we all see a bit differently, so find freedom in that. Since we all see differently with different perspectives, nothing would be exactly the same right? Don’t allow others to make you feel like you are no body. Think about this, our legs don’t operate like our arms, our fingers don’t operate like our eyes, our mouth does not operate like our toes, but they all work TOGETHER to make our body work. We are all supposed to be different, but we can all work together for good of His kingdom. Worldly ways have a hard time grasping that.
When we can begin to step into who we are as who we are in Him, we will experience his freedom.
We don’t have to follow the customs of those that came before us, dragging our mistakes, our shame and pain around like its a body part. You are not a follower.
We don’t have to follow our parents’ wishes, going after the careers they wanted for us. You have been set apart.
We don’t have to follow our “friends” into things we know God is not calling us to. I know its hard to go against these people you have known forever. Here is some hard truth. Good friends would want the best for you and wouldn’t pull you into things that are not good. You were not created to fit in.
We don’t have to follow the elders of the church or the church folk that have known you while you were in your mother’s womb. You know, the ones that have known your mama, grandma, great grandma even. We feel as though we should listen to them out of respect or think they have been going to church for a long time, they must be right.
Listen, man’s hearts can be deceived. There are so many chapters in the bible that talk about false teachers. Go back to God and ask him what he said. Open your bible to read about what he said so that you won’t be led astray, but you will know the truth. (2 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:1, Titus 1:10, but so many more)
We don’t have to follow the ways of this world. The world is missing so much! Its longing for something, but keeps seeking temporary things. Its missing love, compassion, understanding, kindness, joy, peace, patience, and so much more, but most of all the world is missing King Jesus.
My hope is that you find freedom as you follow Jesus himself. He wants to fill us with his truth so that we are able to walk out this life with boldness, confidence, courage, bravery and show the world the love that it longs for so much.