Faith – The Hardest Test I’ve Ever Known

Faith.

Hmph.

faith hope and love

Once again I’m in Panera. This time under a similar, much more daunting and heart-wrenching experience than last time.

I’m smack in the middle of a true faith test. And it hurts.

I’ve been in a similar storm before, nonetheless, I’m still heart-broken. I’m facing a big decision, and my friends and family can testify, this isn’t my strong suit.

The pressure during decision-making times comes from all over, including from myself; and often times, as in this case, it’s so overwhelming I collapsed from fear of screwing up and displeasing God.

The fear of not being honest with myself but also accepting that I don’t know what I want is unexplainable. The more honest I am, the more messy it seems to make everything.

Oh faith.

This time around, I couldn’t log into my WordPress account so I had to reset my password. As I tried, it said my requested password wasn’t difficult enough and kicked back a suggested password that looked like the following:

@4jjlsjlWu9rosoPr@#$*%.

Seriously? So I reset my password to JesusHelp (*has since been changed, so don’t try it:)

And then I landed on this neglected blog account of mine, where I wrote about the last big decision I had to make. I smiled inside because the irony felt all too coincidental. The cool part is I can stand and say that I made a really good decision a few days after posting that blog.

I ended up moving back to Nashville and getting a job within 1 week of being back via social media. Twitter to be exact. It’s a quick, great story I’m more than happy to share with you if you ask me about it.

I faced fear that day. I made a decision and I went with it. And when I decided, I decided. I moved home the next day at 5 am. My heart lead, I just followed.

Now, as I sit here contemplating what I’m suppose to do next, I’m hurting. There is loss with every decision, but this one decision involves a huge loss I’m not sure I could ever get over should I screw it up.

“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.”

Here’s to faith. Here’s to sitting in the trenches of pain, loss, grief, hope, unanswered and answered prayers.

Here’s to the daunting challenge of waiting. And here’s to “God loves me regardless.”

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Learning to Decide

I’m sitting in a Panera in Charlotte, NC hidden in the corner booth trying to resist any urge to purchase a coffee or perhaps a whole meal with a side of bread. The longer I sit, the more I know full and well I will buy something by the time I leave this joint. Initially, I thought this might be the best place to get away – to think. If I can think, I can decide. It’s turned into too much thinking and not enough deciding.

choices, decisions, right choices, tough choices, hard decisions

For the past week I have gone back and forth with trying to decide on a recent job offer. I parted from my home city to play professional soccer, only to randomly find myself in an awesome marketing internship. After a day, I had been promoted from intern to “specialist.” The pay would follow later.

Over the last 5 weeks I have learned the corporate way of life in an environment I could not have dreamt up myself. It’s professional, yet casual. It’s fun, but serious. The clients rock, and my co-workers are even better.

…This last Friday I declined the offer. My family is home. My wonderful, hot steamy boyfriend lives there, too. My company came back with an enticing counter-offer. It pulls at my heart strings. Taking on this job could open up a whole new world for me. New people with a whole new network of professionals and friends alike. Not to mention, this new city rocks. Like I said before. Decisions suck.

…Attitude matters.

I can’t explain enough to you how much I dislike big decisions, but I need to decide tomorrow. If this decision prolongs past tomorrow, I may not have any friends or family left. Yes. I’m that bad. So here’s advice I need to get through my head:

First-off. This decision is not life and death. Life will go on.
Secondly, the Spirit of God lives and breathes inside me. I can decide confidently, knowing He guides me. Always.
Third. He works all things out for the good for those who love the Lord. I love Him. I love Him so much I hate feeling like I disappoint Him. Which leads me to my next and last point…

He will love me regardless.

This statement changes the game. I still believe decisions suck, but at least I know I’m loved, even if I royally screw up. As I grapple through this for the next day, all I can say is thank you Lord for this experience. Thank you Lord I have a chance to decide. And thank you that You will help me.

Here’s to choices!

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14:16

Speaking Some Truth

Here it goes…

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I can still serve the Kingdom of God with blemishes and acne scars.

I will love and honor and speak to others when I hate my outfit, or its uncomfortable, or its not as cute, sophisticated, stylish, or as form fitting as the others in the room.

I will smile and look others in the eyes even when I’m sure they see my faults and imperfections.

I will always laugh, joke, and be my silliest even if the people in the room are critical.

I will let me yes be yes, my no be no, and my decisions be grounded and set in stone, because you have put a decisive spirit within me, and you have replaced my foolishness with a sound mind.

I will speak with boldness, conviction, gentleness, purity, clarity, and confidence because you give me the words to say and the courage to speak life into any and all atmospheres I enter.

I will hope for the unseen because you have already won the victory.

I will see my dreams come to pass, because I will not limit myself to insecurities.

I will not settle for less than your best, because you know the plans you have for me, and they are good plans- plans of prosperity and growth.

I will celebrate what Christ has done for me by telling everyone I know, at any chance I get, about His goodness, graciousness, and faithfulness in my life and in the lives of people I know.

I will dream and never stop dreaming, because he gives and takes away.

I will love and honor my husband by being a woman of integrity, humility, and wisdom. I will continue to sacrifice my ashes for beauty, so that he will have a bride easy to love that helps him fall more in love with our Savior with each new day.

I will treat all men with equality, respect, and purity, as if they were innocent children of God, because He created His church to be a beacon of hope and holiness.

I will place worry at the altar, and let it burn to smoke, because it has no place in my life- Christ died for my freedom not my enslavement.

I will never back down from receiving God’s grace, because I know I’m in need of a savior.

I will always seek peace, because I know peace means my heavenly Father is pleased and honored.

And lastly, I will hope for the day I see my Savior face-to-face, because I know his love cast out all fear.

A Servant’s Heart

It is a daily challenge to think outside of our own personal world. With the clutter of life, often times it seems overwhelming to take care of ourselves, let alone provide for someone else. However, Christians are called to a purpose outside of our own lives. We are Christ’s ambassadors, here on earth as instruments ready to be used for God at any moment. This may feel like a huge task, but there is hope!

Christ lived a servant’s life, providing us the perfect example of humility and selflessness. Possibly the most heart-warming example of his servant’s heart was the night of the Last Supper.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” John 13:12-16

At the Last Supper with His disciples, Christ knew He was facing the cross in a few hours. As a human, He faced the same emotions and fleshly temptations we face every day. However, instead of basking in the fear of death, Christ performed one of His most humble acts of service—washing the disciples feet. This was Christ’s final chance to drive His point home. Symbolically, this act of service shows us God’s heart for His children. He longs to cleanse us, and to wash us in His love and mercy.

By God’s grace and strength, we can seek to fulfill acts of kindness toward others. Ask God to show you ways on a daily basis to serve others before yourself. It will stretch you and cost you time, money, resources, and energy. However, you will not have to do it on your own strength. God promises to provide for you every step of the way!