How I fell in love with Jesus

There is something that has been on my heart for a while to talk about: falling in love with Jesus. I’ve noticed that many people I talk to about their relationships with Christ are missing that one key factor.

Often times, we approach getting to know Jesus kind of backwards. We think we have to straighten ourselves out before we can come to Him, and we think we have to make Him love us. We make spending time with Him a task or responsibilty instead of coming to Him out of pure desire. We choose not to sin, because our goal is to go to heaven, and not because we just want to show Jesus how much we love Him and want the life He chose for us. We are after His blessings and not His heart. If this is you, then I’m here to tell you that you are tiring yourself out trying to chase after the wrong thing. You can live in the freedom that Christ died for us for, but if you’re chasing rules and blessings versus Christ Himself, you’re going to continue to find yourself in bondage rather than freedom. There’s so much He wants to give you.

You may be asking, how do you fall in love with Jesus? Guess what? I asked the same question. I knew I wanted it, but I didn’t really know how to go about…getting it (for lack of a better word.) I’d love to share the journey I took to fall in love with Jesus in hopes that it will help you with your journey.

MY JOURNEY

I broke my journey up into steps that may help you. Not everyone’s relationship with Christ is going to be the same. You’re going to find out what works well for you and what doesn’t work well as you go through this process. Through it all, remember that He LOVES you! And we love Him, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

1. First, stop being so hard on yourself.  It may not happen overnight, and its okay. Take a deep breath and relax. There is no condemnation in Christ. God is just rejoicing that you are reaching out to Him. Remember that His arms have been outstretched toward you this entire time and He loves you!

2. Ask Jesus to show Him how much He loves you, and then prepare for your day to turn upside down as He showers you with love. (We love Him because He first loved us — verse here)

3. Spend time soaking in His presence. What does that mean? Just lay there with some worship music on and ask His presence to fill up the space you’re in.  Then, watch Him work.

4. Dive into His word. I kind of cheat with this and use a Bible app that gives me a daily verse because I don’t always know where to begin.  So, I see what that verse is, and then I read the entire chapter.

5. Journal. Keep track of How God is making you feel.  That’s so important.

6. Go on dates with Him. Take coffee dates with Him and long walks with Him and just talk to Him. He’s always there with you. (And no, you won’t look weird. I promise!)

7. Ask God to open your heart up and put it on fire for Him. He will do it, and you will change. It’s crazy!

Pretty soon, you’re going to be so passionately in love with Him, that a day not spent with Him is going to feel weird. That’s a great sign! You’re going to reach a point where you naturally live a sin free life because you love Him so much. And this love you feel will make you feel so free.  It will bring you the free and abundant life that Christ died for us to have, and it will feel so good.

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Trust Without Borders

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What an interesting season this has been! I’ve started to realize I am only updating this blog about once a month or so, because that’s when God has shown me something or shared something with me that is worth talking about. The in-between time is my discovery part of the journey where I am really lost and confused, yet following Him still, and waiting or Him to show me what is next.

I know that in my last post I talked about feeling like I was in a rut.  I continued to feel that way for quite some time, and to be honest, in the physical earthly sense, not much has changed.  I still work the same job, my health still isn’t doing too well, and I still don’t know what I really want to do with my life.  However, I have learned so much in this time, and God is still so faithful.

When I decided to make a commitment to live the rest of my life for God’s glory, I knew what I was getting into, but at the same time I didn’t.  Does that make any sense? I knew that with all my heart I only wanted to live exactly how God wants me to live.  I only want to pursue what He wants me to pursue, and be who He wants me to be.  Why? Because He knows me so much better than I could ever know myself. He knows what my passions are when I don’t know what they are.  He created me! Of course He knows me better! And He created you, too.  I highly suggest that if you are feeling lost and confused about who are; seek HIM! He has so many wonderful things to show you!

Anyway, what I didn’t know was that it wasn’t always going to be clear what He wanted.  I’m a person who likes answers in flashing red signs with arrows that say “THIS ONE!”. I mean, who doesn’t, right? But God doesn’t always operate like that.  More often than not, He’s more focused on showing you His love for you than the answers to your questions.  And a lot of the times we want these answers we aren’t ready for.  So God says “sshhhh…trust me. Receive my love and love me back and then I’ll answer soon enough.”  Or, sometimes, the answer may not be exactly the way we want to hear it.  For instance, I have been praying for MONTHS about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life and where does He want me to go next.  I have spent many hours in worship just pouring my heart out to Him, telling Him my desire to only do what He called me to do.  The thing is, I got so caught up in just one answer, and if I didn’t hear that answer, I felt like He wasn’t answering at all.  In actuality, instead of telling me about a specific thing He has called me to do, He revealed to me that I need to work on loving myself as He loves me to even begin living as the woman He has called me to be. Does that makes sense? It really had nothing to do with a specific job or task, but everything to do with walking in His purpose with every move I make, no matter what I am doing.  He wanted to show me that I can do that right where I am. As soon as I learned to do that right where I was, He started to reveal to me where I was headed next.  How awesome is that?

Its frustrating though, because in the moment, you just don’t understand what’s going on.  But that’s what it means to have trust without borders. This has been my prayer, too.  My prayers has been for Him to lead me wherever He will call me  To trust Him so much that even when I am completely confused or scared, I still trust Him completely.  Not a little bit, but completely.  That is extremely hard to do, but we aren’t designed to do it on our own.  He actually wants to help us learn to trust Him like that.  He wants to lead us into that strong relationship with Him.  He wants to hold us and hug us and whisper little things in our ears that will make it so easy to trust Him completely.  His joy is what carries us into that trust, and wherever His presence is, there is joy and freedom.  So the key is to stay in His presence.  He will take it from there.  He’s so wonderful, too, because He also understands that sometimes we may need friends who are going to trust and believe with us.  Just as I was in dire need of tangible love, He brought me closer to my girl friends at church and to my significant other. He didn’t let me feel alone.

His love is so tender.  Its mind blowing!

Now I am starting to see a glimpse of what He has next for me.  Just a glimpse.  One step.  And guess what? That’s scary! Of course I wish He would let me see all of the steps at once.  He knows better, though, and I’m sure if I saw all of the steps I would freak out because I am not ready for them.  So, He’s testing my faith.  He gave me the one step, blinded me to what the next steps would be, and told me to trust Him to take that step. Trust without borders, wherever He would call me. 

I don’t know what is completely in store for me next.  Yes, I still have fears and concerns because it is human nature to wonder and stress over making sure everything is right.  I’m not letting that stop me, though.  His peace He brings me surpasses all of those fears.  My faith is greater than my own understanding.  And while I know all of that sounds extremely cliche, its real.  I’m living it.

Its far from over.  My hard times are still very present.  I still don’t know what I’m going to be “when I grow up.” I still don’t know when I am going to be healed.  And I still have days where I struggle with loving myself.  But I can say with confidence that God answered my prayer.  I begged Him to show me how to become the woman He has called me to be, and He is showing me that one day at a time.

God beams with joy about me.

This pas Sunday, the Father gave me amazing revelation that I’ve been needing and seeking for a while now.  Where should I start? Well, let’s be honest.  I’ve been going through a lot lately, and I’ve been in a waiting season where God has me faithfully waiting for Him to make His move when His time is right.  And that is totally fine.  I love my Father and my faith is unwavering.  I know that He has major plans for my breakthrough soon. Of course, that doesn’t always take away from some of the human emotions that might be felt in the midst of a storm, or, even deeper, the thoughts the enemy will try to get you to have about your situation(s).  A constant pursuit of Christ; however, will bring joy regardless of those thoughts and emotions.  I would say, that my joy has been on point lately. But, my emotions have been all over the place, and I guess I have been trying to figure out why.  Well, here’s why.

The struggles that are at the forefront of my life right now (physical health, getting a new job, finances) are emotionally distracting me from the deeper problems that are present as well.  That probably sounds weird, but let’s just say there are emotional/spiritual struggles I didn’t even know I was dealing with this entire time, but they have been affecting me and affecting how I react to the struggles I have been very aware of. One of those, is a battle of self-hatred that I have been dealing with my entire life.  This is a wall (or several walls) that God has been trying to break down for years.  I was listening to a worship song called “Spirit Breakout” by Kim Walker-Smith that talks about Holy Spirit coming to break our walls down, when Holy Spirit revealed to me that this was a huge wall that I needed to let Him break down.  I definitely thought I was mostly done with self-hatred, but God showed me this weekend that I still don’t think highly of myself, like, ever. BUT, He also showed me how I can finally get through this struggle.

God delights in me. (And you, too!)  He beams with joy at the thought of me.  He made me in His image and likeness, which means that the way I am, in His eyes, is already perfect. My constant self-harming, nit-picky, self-comparing thoughts about how imperfect I am are only acts of the enemy.  Especially since I have given my life to Christ and have been determined to serve His Kingdom every day, I know Daddy God is especially proud of me.  And He cares so deeply about me.  How beautiful, right?

So, now I just have to remind myself of this every day to start to fight the enemy in this self-hatred battle.  It has to be more than an internal thought reminder, though.  It has to be spoken aloud and declared, because the power of life and death is in the tongue.

Psalm 18:19 “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

Current season.

Lately my mind has been filling with thoughts of what is going to be next for me. I graduated from college last May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. All through out college, I was convinced that I was going to be a reporter. And right up until March of my senior year. Then, God woke me up, and He made me realize that wasn’t going to be my life for many reasons.

Reasons:

1.) I’m not passionate about the news. I was trying to make myself passionate about it in school, but if it was out of sight, it was out of mind. And now, I hate it. It’s nothing but depressing and invasive of people’s personal lives, and I want no parts of it.
2.) My health wouldn’t be able to take it. My chronic pain and the rush of news does not mix. (Mind you, neither does being a technician at one of the busiest Apple stores on the East Coast…more on that later.)
3.) It’s just not the calling God placed on my life. I follow Him. Enough said.

Anyway, in seeking God, He led me to stay with Apple until further notice. I continued as a part-time sales specialist throughout the summer, and picked up as many hours as I could to make all the bills. Then God led me to seek a Genius Bar position at another store, which was full time. I got it. It was perfect. It was ten minutes away from the apartment I was moving to, it was full-time, which meant health benefits and a steady income, and it was a slight pay increase. God just knew what He was doing. Of course, since He is God, He doesn’t reveal all of what He is doing right away. At the time, I thought my calling would be with Apple and I had all these career aspirations and things I could imagine myself doing with the company. I guess, now I realize, I was selling myself short. God knew that, but I didn’t. He knew He had a short mission in sending me to this new store. To get me on my feet, to the doctor, to the church He was calling me to, and to meet the love of my life. I couldn’t be happier with these things.

But now, now I can feel the next transition creeping up on me. Being a technician was much more than I expected, and really made me realize how bad my back is. I can’t work in this constant standing and moving environment. Also, I’m underpaid and overworked. I can’t make a life for myself like this. I’m worth more than this, since I have a degree. I don’t want to spend another day in a retail environment. And the negative feedback I’ve been getting about my performance lately, despite how much effort I put in, is definitely a sign that its time to move on.

So lately, it’s been a lot of praying and faithfully waiting for God’s next direction, while trying to fight off the enemy with his thoughts he’s been trying to get me to have. (you’re wasting you’re time, you’re not good enough, you’re never going to get a new job, you wasted time after college and now you don’t have the experience you need to get a new job…etc, etc.) Now, I know all of this is far from true, and my faith I’m God is far superior than what the devil THINKS he can do. But I do find my patience growing thin as I anxiously wait for the next thing and for my healing from my chromic pain.

So here’s how I’ve been working on enjoying my current season:

1.) loving my man. He makes everything better. He takes care of me, makes me laugh, treats me to things I wouldn’t treat myself to, and we seek God together. What more can I ask for?
2.) enjoying my short commute to work. I mean, 10 min? What’s better than that? Oh, and I have a car now. Which makes my life so much more productive and convenient.
3.) finding the benefits of an inconsistent work schedule. Meaning the days I’m in later, I try to really enjoy my mornings and taking time to get ready.
4.) church. By the grace of God, I get every Sunday off. And my church is amazing.

My time is coming soon. I know that. And with His peace and His presence, I know everything is working out for my good. (Romans 8:28)

What do you do to enjoy your current season while waiting patiently for the next one?

Setback.

So, a few weeks ago, I had a slight spiritual setback. The enemy got the best of me and I completely slipped back into an old habit of mine that I thought I would never revisit.

Even though I had this setback, it felt completely different than any of the other times I used to participate in this habit regularly, and this is because of who I am in Christ now. And, yes, I am just coming to this revelation right now. For a few weeks, I have questioned what happened and how I could possibly let it happen. I’ve been slightly beating myself up about it, but then beating myself up more for not beating myself up enough for what I did, and for feeling as guilty as I normally do. It was weird. I felt guilty, but not as guilty as normal. It was as if I already knew that, that person was not me, and that I was too good for such behaviors. I mean, how could I get angry at myself for something I did when the enemy got a hold of me? Because I know its not something that my right-minded/spiritually-minded/born-again self would have done. So what happened? The enemy happened.

And, its okay. Because from this I received a lot of revelation:

  1. When the enemy tries something, he will never completely win. Since I gave my life to Christ, He has all of the say. He has the final say. So God got the glory and my situation had been turned around within a few hours. I still prayed. I didn’t completely lose myself. The enemy will never have that complete hold over me no matter how hard he tries.
  2. I learned what the enemy will try to use to get me. I know what my weaknesses are. I know WHO my weaknesses are. And I know how to fight him the next time he tries to get me.
  3. I learned how much God loves me so much. His forgiveness was so….genuine and true. He forgave me and gave me the strength to forgive myself, which is something that is extremely hard for me to do. I mean, I harmed His body. I had a setback! How could i ever face myself or God again? But He made it so so so easy.

And…I never stopped seeking Him. Better yet, He never stopped seeking ME! Even when I felt like I couldn’t stand. Even when I felt like I had completely lost control and couldn’t see myself or Him. He came. He reached out His hand, and I took it. I let Him engulf me and comfort me and just take care of everything I couldn’t. It was amazing. That’s what He is there for. To take care of what we can’t! To be our strength! To be our rock! Our foundation! Our everything! Everything we need and more.

Forever consumed by the Father. Forever forgiven. Forever free.

Shifting.

Wow. I know it’s been a while. I promise I am going to get better at this. I have a dying need to journal, but I just oftentimes don’t feel we’ll enough to put my thoughts down on paper.

But this is my testimony, continued. And I need realize how every day is a really a testimony in some sort, so, in reality, I should be writing daily.

So, I’ll have more details to report soon, but all I can say right now is that when you commit yourself to following God, He is ALWAYS faithful. He will always fulfill His promises to you. You will never fail or ever be left without your dreams when your life belongs to Him.

More to come.

It’s been a while, but I have a lot to say.

One of the biggest spiritual struggles I have faced has been self-rejection. The enemy has used circumstances in my life to basically get me to kill myself, but God always receives the glory.

My mother was never the greatest shower of love. She is not an affectionate person whatsoever. She also has a temper. She probably needed anger management classes come to think of it. Anyway, her way of treating me caused me to be depressed most of my childhood and into my first two years of college. She adopted me, which was the funny/confusing part of it all, because I never understood how she wanted a child and could be so mean. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. Regardless, because she didn’t show me much love, I never learned how to show myself love. I felt like a constant failure in her eyes. I was raised that hard work and over achievement was more important than caring for yourself. I was raised that good wasn’t good enough. I was raised that my best wasn’t good enough, that I had to be thebest. And of course, I never was. I was slightly above average. You know, B+/A- kind of student. And, I always involved myself in a ton of activities. At first, it was because I felt like that’s what I had to do. But then it became a mechanism of hiding from myself. Hiding from my pain (both physical and emotional) and hiding from my mother. The more time I could be away from her, the better. But even then, I still wanted her approval in all of those things. Every now and then I would get it, but most of the time, not so much. Then, when I enjoyed the activities I was involved in (tennis, theatre, band, speech) she resented me even more. She tried to take them away from me. She put me on restrictions I didn’t deserve just to keep me from being happy in my activities. In her eyes, they weren’t going to get me anywhere and they weren’t raising my grades or getting me scholarship money.

So for all of those years, I rejected myself to be perfect. I didn’t care about how I felt. I didn’t listen to my body or my spirit. I over worked and under slept myself. And, I harmed myself. I spent years punishing myself for the imperfection I thought I was.

But, God’s love is like fire. He woke me up. And He showed me who He has called me to be. He’s had to show me thru a lot of lessons for me to understand, and I’m still learning. I wasn’t just delivered over night. It has been a deliverance battle. A beautiful battle that I would gladly fight again just to know The Lord.

My latest lesson has been about how to care for myself. It is a lesson I have been learning for about a year now. Learning to love myself and care for myself. I have a lot of health problems. Chronic headaches and dizzy spells. A horrible back that resulted from an untreated injury and a pre-existing birth defect. And burning/weakening leg pains that result from that same birth defect. I just found out what most of diagnoses are except for my headaches and dizziness. For a while I had been wondering why The Lord won’t just heal me. What was I doing wrong? I’ve seen Him heal people miraculously. Why not me? Guess what He told me. He’s teaching me how to take care of me. How important it is to only do what I can handle, listen to myself, go to the necessary doctor’s appointments, etc. And while I wish I could just stop being in pain, I am so thankful for this lesson and I can’t wait to have my breakthrough. To share my testimony. It’s already forming. It’s just not done yet.

Pray for me. The days are long and hard. My work shifts are gruesome at times because of how much pain I am in. But I wouldn’t take it back for anything, because this battle is bringing me closer to God every single day.

And that’s all I’ve ever wanted.