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Know Who You Belong To

KnowWhoYouBelongTo

As I was thinking about this, I was thinking it would be mainly for single Christian girls.  But no matter what stage of life you’re in or if you’re a guy, I think we all need this reminder – and often.  Or maybe it’s just me.  

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT). 

While this passage is discussing avoiding sexual sin – scratch that, fleeing from it – in order to honor God with our bodies, there is a deeper message behind Paul’s words here.  Our bodies and our lives are not our own.  God literally purchased us at a price – the death of Jesus on the cross.  God created us to be first in relationship with Him.  And in order to restore that relationship, He allowed His Son to be sacrificed on the cross for the sins of all humanity.     

The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me.  And in the process of that, I managed to be incredibly angry with God, question what God was doing in my life, and where He was in the midst of my struggle.  But through all of that, the main thing that I realized was that I am a child of the King of Kings.  And that is all that matters in the end.   

I know that no matter what I’m going through or how bad of a day I have, my God allowed His one and only Son to die a horrific death on the cross so that I could live a joy-filled life while I’m on earth and have life eternally with Him.  So I will continue to surrender this life to God, no matter how crazy y’all think I am in the process.  And I just want to encourage you to seriously consider where you find your worth, because if you find that worth anywhere but in Jesus, whatever that is will let you down at some point.  

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To My 15-Year-Old Self

Photo taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/fimbrethil/2234680879/in/photolist-4ptjLF-mKwwTF-dPr76P-anwS5-dPr75i-9jhdzx-7FAYag-dPr7bM-5qRJMr-7XM2LD-3re8Vn-8vVgyt-63BkSm-nYKCNi-auMp7d-81E8jh-riBfpt-8ZskX-5dVz3R-fS62rv-bnpKyd-9gZUpz-ct6D4w-65ssGg-quTjAF-gJGdV-6CC5sy-wYXqV-dPwJDU-GMW8t-hsW8c-863qeH-eanJyY-e58a5Z-6JAN6w-5Xjkxs-8MLeTC-5T35cA-2y8SKm-bDk4Z6-cvXZYf-dqKGS-PMdLk-pw5dsi-6pdw2k-bdP2AT-CFfmr-b14TCP-9qUmLf-8AJYj4. Used under Creative Commons License
Photo taken by Nikki Tysoe from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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If I could tell my 15-Year-Old Self a few things about the past few years;

First and foremost, just keep going. You’ll get there.  

The next two years might seem like you’re walking through hell and you won’t know which way to turn, so you’ll just want to lay down and take a nap instead.  Don’t.  Pick up a book and read or pick up a pen and write.  I wish you wouldn’t have wasted your precious time.

It’s okay to ask for help. 

With anything and everything, you waited way longer than you should have.  Ask sooner, it’s okay.

You’ll lose friends, but you’ll get through that too. 

I’m not saying don’t try.  I wish you would’ve tried harder.  But the friends that stick around are good ones.

Life never was and never will be about material possessions. 

Give to others, show them how much you care about them, and tell them about your faith.  Create relationships that last.  That’s what matters.  What doesn’t matter?  Stuff.

Remember saying “God will use this?” He will.

Just keep trusting Him, always.  You don’t have to be angry, but it’s okay to be mad that you are where you are as well.

It’s okay that you’re not happy, but don’t stay there. 

For whatever reason you’re not happy, there’s a reason.  You’re walking through this dark world around you and you know that there is so much more than this, so at times it makes you miserable.  Don’t hide it, deal with it.  Be honest with those around you, they’ve probably experienced similar things.

Don’t fight God’s plan for your life. 

It’s not worth the pain and confusion it’ll cause you.  (Hint: you’ll never win anyways.)  There’s a real battle between what your flesh desires and what God has for your life.  The day you decide that what you want more is what God’s will is for your life, will be one of the best days of your life.  I promise. Find your worth in Him and Him alone.

On that note, don’t make so many plans, because God’s going to change them ALL

anyways. 

 

“This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Every day, find something to thank God for.  It’s not that hard, I promise.  It’s being grateful for the little things that grows into being more joyful in the longterm.  But when you find yourself without any joy, don’t let that define you.  Let the Word of God tell you who you are.  Not anything you’ve been through, not anyone else, nothing but God deserves to define your worth.

Step outside of yourself, tell people about your faith, love others.  Not everything turns out as you wanted but God’s working everything out His way.  You’ll eventually learn to live with the beautiful mess that you will learn to trust that His will is greater than anything you could ask or imagine. 

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I Don’t Make Plans

"Road" by Daniele Marcucci taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/chibuz/2544464654/in/photolist-4SR3Gf-8v88Q5-cdAGUs-8J6Csu-rneWMX-7CDhR4-7g2mpG-6J6kv7-7RbVA8-5qpkUT-8So1SK-cZ9EHf-hbAzGZ-3tSNxQ-6tiZfk-fQ7HN3-EFnhdz-35fmmp-7CDhTg-5aTQPQ-6HJVbT-5EW7JU-JYBj7-fdhfUR-bWenqH-FACZAE-d8Ne1N-7NYdeR-ecJ2ea-dbG7De-6JgtQ8-bjKENV-4Bo5g-5d3Jyp-9saARK-bDqiv1-pMjEe2-4r763U-pmUXEd-frzX4b-5jbTAb-JFbkk-8keTpq-btb3ei-e6EKzr-9y2Soa-pzB6LC-88AcqS-6soVY-6HydVy
“Road” by Daniele Marcucci taken from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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Let me clarify before we start, I’m not saying I don’t make plans for the near future.  Like this week, next week, next month. We’re talking about the more distant future in this post.  But in all reality, God can change any of our plans if He wants to.  I really am a planner when it comes to the near future.  But when it comes to my future plans, I’m not.

Yes, I have goals and dreams that may sound like plans but they’re not.  My only plan is to follow God wherever He leads.  And that may be somewhere completely and totally different than I intended, so why make plans of my own when God knows exactly where I belong?

“‘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 NIV

Who was God addressing in this? The nation of Israel when they were exiled in Babylon.  Even though they were in a terrible situation, He still had a plan for them.  So does this verse actually apply to us as individuals as well? Yes of course it does, there is a spiritual principle that is to be passed down here.  But the context of the verse must be understood. God’s plan wasn’t to take them out of exile.  It was to prosper them right where they were.

Our plans and God’s plans may look like exact opposites at times.  I used to hate writing, then God gave me a passion for it.  I don’t know what roads He’ll take me down in my life, so why would I try to plan out every detail of my life?

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Living in Our Own Little World

My view from the plane flying into Cancun last week!
My view from the plane flying into Cancun last week!

 

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This was a breathtaking sight after being pretty anxious about my plane ride to Mexico.  Especially knowing that I was about to land and within a few hours my feet would be in the sand (to my disappointment, the beach on my resort wasn’t that nice, but we could walk just up the beach to a gorgeous lagoon.) Anyways, I got a little sidetracked there, sorry.

On our flight, I was thinking about how easy it is to only see life from our own point of view and get caught up in our own “little” lives, if i might call them that, and forget about the world around us.  I was reminded last week that there’s an entire world out there beyond this little world I’m living in.  This doesn’t apply to everyone, but a lot of us –including myself– tend to isolate ourselves from the world around us so that we don’t have to see the pain and suffering of others.

“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.” Romans 12:2 NIV (Verse of the Week)

Why do we do that?

We don’t know how to approach people we don’t know anymore (especially my generation).  But that’s okay.  Messily approaching someone is better than not approaching them at all.  Just go in with an attitude of compassion and genuine concern for them and we might create real relationships.

We’re scared to get hurt ourselves. We think that if we get too connected and care too much about other people’s feelings we will hurt with them and I think we’re afraid of that.

We can’t be afraid.  We have to remember that there’s so much more than our normal circle, whether large or small We have to be around people that we aren’t always with in order to fulfill the great commission:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV