You Were Meant To Stand Out Not “Fit In”

So as a kid I struggled so much with trying to fit into the “popular” crowd but yet I could not find anything that I had in common with them. It was always so frustrating when I was younger. I never had a ton of girlfriends. Just a very few that I could really trust.

I saw all these others girls at high school football games with like 10 of their friends! This was almost embarrassing to me. I felt alone in a lot of ways.

I thought “hey maybe if I started acting more like them I will “fit in.”

I started acting like someone I wasn’t and realized that this is not what I am supposed to be doing. This does not seem right. I was trying way too hard to be someone I really was not.

To be honest, I struggled for a long time with this. Not until about 2 years ago did I fully realize and embrace that I have been chosen and “set apart” for the good of God. To do His work.

I have accepted what God has called me to do. Finally, after 24 years!

I had so much growing to do before I was able to come to this realization.

Until I was able to grasp what God has done for me, I wasn’t able to start the work God had for me.

I have learned so much about God’s love and grace. He has done so much for me and has never left my side in my darkest thoughts and in my darkest times of life.

Being set apart from the world doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, but we are not to indulge in the sinful activities of this world.

Let your light shine before others. God has chosen you out of the world to show His glory in you. You’re in the world, but don’t be part of the world. Don’t follow the world’s desires and live like unbelievers, but walk like Jesus our Lord and Savior. Our holiness comes from Christ.

“He that chooses God, devotes himself to God as the vessels of the sanctuary were consecrated and set apart from common to holy uses, so he that has chosen God to be his God, has dedicated himself to God, and will no more be devoted to profane uses.”  Thomas Watson

Deuteronomy 14:2 You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.

1 John 4:4-5 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.

And one of my favorite scriptures:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

These scriptures gave me a lot of joy and happiness when I read them because I didn’t feel left out. I felt SET APART! It suddenly made so much sense.

So I will live my life for the Lord and only for the Lord.

I encourage you to do the same thing!

Pray To The One Who Cares For You

If you will accept this statement that  prayer is the answer, that prayer is power, and that prayer can change all things that need changing in your life, yourself, or in any condition of any kind, you have placed yourself in the stream of blessing that is available to all who ask in faith, believing.

If you are unhappy, prayer can lift you into a new lightness of heart, joy, and happiness.

There is a sense of calmness after I pray and I know that I have laid it all out there to God and can rest in that knowing. I trust that God can handle my problems. Even when sometimes it just feels like too much. God can handle it.

Praying isn’t only praying for what you want or think you even need. It’s about being one with God. Laying down your life to Him, the One who holds it all.

If you are plagued with resentment and bitterness regarding a person or situation, prayer can bring a new understanding to you that will fill you with new peace and great love.

Maybe you are going through a time of life where you are fearful. Prayer can transform you into a person of great courage.

I am sure there are things that you have held onto and have not spoken to another soul about. Maybe you haven’t even prayed because you’re too scared to bring it to God even.

I have good news. God’s grace has you. He loves you where you are right now. He loves your heart, soul and mind. Speak to your Father. He will listen and care in such a deep way and can help take away whatever it is that you have been carrying.

Moses prayed in his own way, and he received sufficient guidance to lead the enslaved Israelites into the Promised Land. Joseph prayed in his way, and he received wisdom and patience and understanding that brought great success and happiness to him and to all those about him. Paul prayed in his way, and he received great illumination that changed his life and moved the world. Jesus prayed in His way and miracles of healing and blessing became a daily occurrence.

Pray in your way. You will see that your life will be transformed and blessed.

Do not be ashamed to pray. Do not feel guilty because you have prayed infrequently before. Begin to pray now in your own way, in your own time, in your own place of life, and see what prayer can do for you. Don’t forget that your relationship with Jesus looks different and is set apart from other peoples relationship. Consider that special! You have your own place in the hands of the Almighty God.

1 John 5:14 says: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Learning To Bloom Where You Are

I think sometimes as humans when we have not so great things happen to us, it becomes our excuse to just shut down completely. We start to question God and we start to feel sorry for ourselves. We feel like we are being targeted. But that is not the case at all.

As I have said before this world will never be perfect so neither will every situation we go through.

We can’t let that take us away from God. We must try and understand through these times and pray that much harder for His wisdom.

So I am going to be honest with you guys right now. This is almost embarrassing to me in a weird. way. But one thing I am learning is it’s okay. It’s okay to be honest in all aspects of life, because its real and raw emotions.

So, I am getting ready to get married in 4 months now and I am realizing who my true friends are through this process. I had not 1, not 2, but 3 girls drop out of my wedding party. I was so distraught and hurt. I didn’t understand why this was happening 4 months from my wedding.

I had such a negative outlook at first, but as I prayed and tried to understand I was realizing that God maybe was showing me something.

Something that may have been an even messier situation down the line, He was saving me from. Even though it didn’t make sense I had to just trust God could turn it around.

For that I am thankful and can tell you that I have learned so much. I am trying to bloom in every season, even the not so great ones.

BUT, once this happened I had no idea what I was going to do. I just trusted that things would work out.

Within the next week I got a message from an old high school friend that I haven’t seen or talked to in YEARS! We started talking about the position I was in and she was able to give me a brand new perspective AND a new idea to fix the issue I was in previously.

It was crazy how fast things ended up working out in the end.

When you keep yourself lined up with God, He will fight for you.

Sometimes God just has a strange way of showing us the more difficult things in life.

Through God’s words we gain an understanding that God is the one who gives the gift of knowledge- that is an understanding or awareness of something. The Lord however, grants knowledge to those who have an honest relationship with him.

Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.

I love this verse so much. It’s basically saying that we must still seek Him and His wisdom through everything.

Having faith in God during difficult times can be incredibly hard. Excruciating. Even physically painful.

The good news is we can still take situations and turn them into learning experiences. (bloom where you are planted.)

Which means there is always a time to learn more about God even in our most excruciating times. For that I am always thankful. My life is far from perfect and I am trying to make sure that you guys know this as I write. I promise to be as raw and pure as I can be, because this is how life works. There’s good and bad days for everyone!

You are BE-YOU-TIFUL

Do you find yourself feeling filled with self-doubt and short on confidence?

Despite your accomplishments, do you feel that you don’t deserve lasting love and that partners will inevitably leave you?

Do you feel like you just don’t have anything to offer someone?

Most of us feel insecure sometimes, but some of us feel insecure most of the time, even when we don’t show it.

So many of us struggle with self-doubt, despite what we have accomplished or do in life.

Some of us have very high standards for everything we do.

You may want the highest grades, the best job, the perfect figure, the most beautifully decorated apartment or house, neat and polite kids, or the ideal partner. 

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out exactly the way we want, even if we work extra hard. There is a piece of the outcome that is at least to some degree out of our control.

Again this is where I think social media really hurts us because we see all of this being done on our news feed and don’t understand why we can’t seem to reach those goals as well.

I do this on the daily even when I try not to do it! It is a never ending cycle that is going to destroy us.

When we feel this way we MUST find our own way to get out of the rut that it brings us to. We must realize that we are Children of God and HE made us in His image!

There will never be another you. If you sit and ponder that, it is really a cool thought that you are one of a kind. You are beautiful in your own way!

I want you to know that this is something I am learning myself and I am on my own self confidence journey.

But as I walk through this, I wanna help you as well. It’s a horrible feeling when you feel like someone else is prettier than you, or smarter, or gets all that you could ever imagine.

We can not compare ourselves to others. God does not want us to do that.

(Ephesians 6:10-13) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

What I think a lot of us do not understand is that the devil puts these thoughts in our heads. He wants us to feel un-worthy. He does not want us to feel loved. He doesn’t want us to have confidence in who we are.

WE MUST STOP THIS VICIOUS CYCLE.

It will only make us that much more open for it to continue. We have to know in these times of doubt that we are equipped with the spirit of God. We have the power to end the cycle of self-doubt and insecurities.

One thing that has helped me is having something on my body that I can look at to remind me that God is near during all times of the day and He will listen and help me with the things I struggle with personally.

I have a ring that says “My Faith is Bigger than My Fear”

It always helps to look down at it and remember in my times of doubt. Also books can really speak to me as well and it might also help you!

I have a couple suggestions:

Captivating: By: John & Stasi Eldredge

Uninvited By: Lysa TerKeurst

(1 Samuel 16:7) 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

(1 Timothy 6:17) 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Remember, this is a battle we can win with the help of Jesus Christ. Our God loves us and WANTS to help us with every battle we face in life. Physical AND Internal!

Finding The Symphony Through The Struggle

Finding yourself in a difficult situation seems to be very common in today’s world. That is because the world is cursed. Nothing in our lives will ever be all smooth sailing. We have to understand that to move forward.

But what if that didn’t stop us from anything? What if nothing made us question God and all He is even through the times of doubt.

One thing I do know for certain is that there is still a sweet symphony through the struggle and that is God’s voice. 

When we stop thinking about our struggle and start thinking about how big God really is. And how much bigger He is compared to what you’re going through, things start to take turn for the better.

Worrying over something that we can’t fix is so common in the world. We as people have this mindset of having to control every aspect of our lives and sometimes we lose all control when we do everything we can and it still looks so messy in our eyes.

That is when we stop and let God step in! Let God do His amazing work in your life. But this takes surrendering to Him. Resting assured that you did all you could and now God can step in and finish it.

We are tested to teach us to rely on God “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)

We are tested so that it will go well with us “He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you” (Deuteronomy 8:16).

There’s a time where your fear has to face the God you know.

You are not alone and do not have to face any challenge by yourself for the Lord your God is always with you.

Building a Better Mindset

Do you guys know the saying “when it rains, it pours?”

I think life sometimes has a crazy way of throwing unexpected things at us when we are just not ready for them and we are not in the right mindset to feel like we can deal with them.

Often the most natural way we respond to problems is to worry, doubt or fear. Who in their right mind would thank God in the middle of turmoil? But in times of great testing, remember that there is always something to be thankful for and that in the right time we will come out by God’s grace and we will come out stronger.

I know the feeling because it seems like right now I am in that season of life!

It comes out of nowhere and it’s not like you can really prepare for it, right?

Well God has been teaching me so much just in this past week! I am realizing that I can take the not so good in life and turn it into a lesson that God is trying to teach me which turns my perspective all around in the situation. I am understanding that even in the discomfort in life we can also count that all as joy.

When I feel like God is near me even in the not so great times in life that gives me so much comfort, and I know that I can conquor all things with Jesus right beside me!

Sometimes we can’t ask the question “WHY” “Why is this happening to me?” Sometimes you have the ask the question “HOW” “How can I use this for the good?”

HOW can I use this to learn something and understand something that God is trying to say to me.

What I am trying to say is that even Christians go through really tough things in life! But the difference is how we as Christians go about the hard times.

Do we use it to be upset with God and feel like He did this to us? OR do we look at the situation and analyze how God can teach us in these times.

My suggestion to you is to ask the HOW question. You will only build a better relationship with the Lord by doing this.

Teaching your mind and learning in the not so good in life can be the difference in crying at night OR praying at night and still continuing to be grateful even in the afflictions.

And let me tell you this, PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM! Trust in your God who loves you in such a deep way.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. … This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him

At one point or another, we face trials. It seems that, in a Christian’s life, problems will forever be a constant. As much as trials can be an undesirable thing for us all, God reminds us that in times of deepest trouble we can still put our faith in Jesus, knowing He has already won the battle.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds

A Friend Like Jesus

When I think of Jesus, I automatically call Him Lord of my life! We address Him with such reverence because He is King of our lives, and worthy of everything we have and do (Revelation 19:16).

Christ is not only Lord though, He is also our most intimate friend!!!

This news brings so much happiness to my heart, and it should for you too!

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV)

Pause and remember: Jesus fulfilled this very definition at the cross. In doing so He made Himself our friend to the highest degree of love ever known!

As we seek to follow and obey Him in everything, this is no exception. We are a genuine friend to others when we lay down our life like Jesus did.

So what does that look like? All of us may not have a physical cross, but there is a spiritual life-giving that needs to take place. We have to be willing to give all of who we are to our friends.

To understand this a little better let’s look at Christ’s own life. He demonstrated a beautiful example of friendship, one that we should gracefully follow.

In Attitude:

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:4-7

Have a heart that seeks opportunities to bring joy, or even hope to their lives.

Something else that I think is very important is PRAYER!

Jesus prayed for His disciples, bringing them before the Father time and time again. He prayed for each and every one of us believers before His walk down Calvary (John 17).

That is so powerful!

Tell your friends you’re praying for them, and check in on them when you know they are going through a hard time and struggling. Use this as a chance to see how you can practically minister to them.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)

Having the attitude of the servant, of Christ, we then can step out in faith.

In Action:

He loved them to the very end. We have to be committed to loving our friend through every season. Not only that, we have to love without limits.

Maybe it’s listening for hours while your friend grieves over a loved one. Or as simple as sending her texts of Scripture in the midst of a busy week. You don’t realize what that could really do for the soul of someone you care deeply for.

He commands us to put our love for Him into practice by loving one another!!!!

Finally, we serve our friends like Christ when we speak the truth in love. Jesus was not afraid to share correction and wisdom, even to those closest to Him.

That’s so hard right? to not be scared of offending our friends?

Yet we love our sisters and brothers most deeply when we point them to Christ, even when it goes against what they had in mind for themselves! We follow Jesus when we focus on our sister’s and brother’s holiness, knowing temporary discomfort can lead to the greatest joy.

With Christ’s help, we too must build the courage to lead our friends to God and His Word, because it’s the truth that saves and heals ALL brokenness.

We may struggle in these areas, but there is good news! With the leading of the Holy Spirit and a dedication to God’s Word, day by day He can grow us in being faithful to our friends! 

A prayer we all should pray:

Dear Lord,
I pray for my friend right now. I pray that you will help them with the struggles they are going through in this season. For you know exactly what they need in this moment. Draw near to them and let them feel your presence. Open their eyes, ears, and hearts to you. Help them have the discernment to hear your voice as you lead them in their next steps. Speak to them as they read your word and bring verses of encouragement and comfort to their attention. I pray that you will calm any fear or anxiety they may be feeling. Replace it with the confidence to obey your word and to trust you. I pray that your guidance will be clear to them from this day forward. In your name, I pray. Amen.