Love others as yourself

Love others as yourself

Acceptance. We always speak about being accepting towards others. Towards other beliefs, skin colours or heritages. We learn to accept others, but first, we need to learn to accept ourselves for who we are and for who the Lord created us to be. Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not saying we should not accept others, but maybe we need to start with ourselves. For me personally, this is a difficult one. When I see people in the streets, at school, in a restaurant or in the train, I find beauty in them. Often I look at somebody and think: ” WOW, God you outdid yourself again. She/He is unique, made in the image of God.” It’s not difficult for me to find beauty in others, to see their talents and lift others up. (Not saying I don’t have issues with jealousy or comparing though.. Meh, those are hard…

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How Serving Changes Your Heart

How Serving Changes Your Heart

At the beginning of July I started a job at my local bakery, working at the café/restaurant. It was my first job in waiting and pretty quickly I learned a few things. You’re going to have to put on a smile. At all times. Even if you’d much rather be pouting. There will be many moments of stress, multitasking, and you’ll always have to be ready to serve…obviously physically, but it’s the heart attitude that makes all the difference.

This past week I served in a different way. I was a mentor/small group leader/counsellor (whatever you wanna call it) at a camp that I used to attend when I was younger. It was so impactful to see all the patience, energy, and spiritual labor that’s a part of taking on this role.

Here are a few things that God laid on my heart during this week:

  • He wants me to give Him my everything. He so desires to sit on the throne of my heart. He doesn’t just want to be the king of my thoughts, my relationships, my time, my work, BUT also the king of my finances. This is something I never really gave much thought. It was obviously a subject in church, taking up the offering, the tithes…but when it came to the money that I earned it never really hit me that I should give everything to Him…because all the riches of this world belong to Him (Mark 10:21).
  • To spend more time in prayer. Starting this new semester all my classes start at 10am, so I have no excuse for not having time to start my day with time in prayer. Maybe even an hour or so. Start and end with Him and it will slowly start to become a 24/7 thing (1. Thessalonians 5:17).
  • He is a healer. Jesus healed so many people, (“For I am the Lord that heals” Exodus 15:26) and He certainly won’t withhold it from me. He is MORE than able. And He wants to heal me. Ask and you will receive… (Matthew 7:7-11)
  • His Word. The Bible. It’s holy. It’s alive, active, quick and sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:14-17, 2. Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 18:30). It’s NOT boring. That’s a lie that the enemy loves planting in our minds. Because when we lay down our weapon, we stop fighting back, and we stop giving our spirit the nutrition it needs, the voice of the enemy in our mind will become louder and louder (Matthew 4:4). For a long time I believed that I had to be smart and intellectual to really understand the Bible. But how amazing that even the youngest child at camp has the ability, through the Spirit to fully understand the Word (Ephesians 2:11-14).
  • Knock and the door will be opened to you…but the ACTION of praying, asking, seeking, knocking, it has to happen. God WILL provide. The job, the friends, the place to live. Maybe not always what I expected but always what He knows is best for me. And always in due time. Never too early, but never too late (Matthew 21:22).
  • If I am deeply rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 3:17) – only then will I bring fruit. Not through my works but through His. And only if my heart is pure and ready He can really work through me, I can receive the word, truly hear it and there will be a harvest (Matthew 13: 31-32, Psalm 107: 37-38) and there will be FRUIT (John 15:16, Titus 3:14, Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 12:33…the list goes on).

 

Being responsible for 9 girls (age 10-13) was quite the challenge for me, and I’ll admit, I didn’t really make it easier for myself either. I tend to be really hard on myself. At times I’d start blaming myself for not being a good enough leader, believing lies like “because you didn’t give your all, your girls didn’t encounter God”, “if you had done a better job, they would have given their lives to Christ by now”. Speaking those lies helped me to realise how discouraging, destructive and untrue they were. The spirit didn’t only tear down these lies in my heart, but He also wrecked me of my pride. Teaching me that my age will never make me wise, but only my humility and the wisdom that comes from Him (Proverbs 11:2). My wisdom will never make me better than anyone else, and neither will the number of encounters I have with God.

During this week at camp He moved in far greater ways that I could see. He showed me areas of my life that are still lacking. Most of all lacking Him. He provided so many with a new hunger and thirst for more of His love and truth. I encourage you to get out there and serve wherever you can. Be a vessel. A vessel just needs to be there. God will do the filling up, and provide you the energy, joy, wisdom and strength that you need. It’ll make all the difference not only in their lives, but also in yours.

All the glory is His.

 

 

Song to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLSDBG1OcGE

Hidden reminders

Hidden reminders

Geography is a class I really enjoyed, but for some reason studying for the exam was extremely tedious. Not just memorising but understanding concepts and also being able to make countless links. As I was studying about tectonic plates and what affects the climate and weather conditions on earth, I realised how NOTHING is constant on this earth– and in our lives. Even in the earth’s mantle there is constant movement, not even the earths axes in relation to the sun is constant, not even the magnetic poles remain the same. Our earth will fail us. Our universe will not last forever. But how much greater does that make the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ. It’s funny how studying geography made me realise that this earth wasn’t meant to last forever because we have a much greater home in heaven. A home so radiant, joy-filled, indescribably glorious that we can’t possibly image it and even less put it into words.

I had been studying for hours and hours at the library then went straight to church after. As I found a seat I put down my textbook-loaded backpack with a thud. Worship began and as I stood trying to calm my anxious heart and whirlwind of worried thoughts, stretching out my aching back…I was reminded how perfect that image was. Of laying down my burdens, the weight I was carrying all by myself. I was exhausted, I was burned out and I knew I couldn’t bear it alone.

The simplest every-day things can be such a perfect reminder of what should be going on in our hearts–what attitude we should have and the way we should look at things.

How beautiful is the spirit’s whisper in the most unexpected moments. These are just some of the random thoughts and reminders I got on that day. I try to write these down and share them as often as I can. And I believe this starts in the beginning of our every day. Your first thoughts, your first worries, your first to-do’s that pop in your head. What if we’d wake up and just fill our mind with God’s promises, with truth of his reckless love. I’m trying to really make it a habit because my days certainly bring too much for me to face alone. Maybe this will help you too.

 

I pray this song becomes more than a prayer, a daily anthem, that you would empty yourself of yourself, to be a vessel ready to be used and filled up with his glory and love and power and new hope.

Song to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ozGKlOzEVc&feature=share

20 things I learned by 20

20 things I learned by 20
  1. Life doesn’t hand out do-overs. Today is what you have been given, and you might not get another chance to love the people who are right in front of you.
  2. Spend your money on memories, on travelling, on others. Not things…unless it’s food (only half kidding).
  3. You’re a lot stronger than you think. You can adult. You CAN even. Do hard things.
  4. You will make a lot more mistakes than you want. In them, you will find more grace than you ever imagined.
  5. A thigh gap and an aesthetically pleasing instagram theme won’t make you any happier than you already are.
  6. If I find it hard to find joy in my day or everything is making me want to cry, I’m probably letting my emotions have the upper hand (or just PMSing)…either way I need to fill my mind with truth and turn to God with everything I’m overwhelmed by.
  7.  The world you live in will tell you a lot about yourself. People will give you opinions. Pick a few people you will listen to, and don’t let the others get to you. They can only see a part of who you are. God-He sees every part and every piece of who you are-He has intimate knowledge of you. Commit yourself to Him and not people and their opinions. He has said you are worthy and enough, and called you to walk in that confidence.
  8. If I think my life is safer in my own hands, I’ve lost sight of who God is.
  9. Change can be painful. But oh so good. Learn to see the things you go through as things you can grow through. And don’t hold on to places or people more than you hold onto your true home-heaven.
  10. People will walk out of your life without reason. Before you grow bitter about it, learn to forgive (as you have been forgiven), let go, and grow from it. Don’t let a goodbye stop you from opening up to new friendships.
  11. Before you start investing and growing closer to all the new friends you just made, remember to love your closest family first.
  12.  Anxiety will never accomplish anything. Your world is in His hands and the most powerful thing you can do is to hand over what you’re worrying about to the One who is in control.
  13.  Only one Person can cure your loneliness. He is the same One who designed your heart to beat the way it did and love the things it loves. He stays up all night to talk when you need to cry. Don’t try to replace Him with people, they were never meant to be your Jesus.
  14. The best way to waste your life is to wish it was different. You’ve spent a long time wishing parts of yourself were different, and all that time you’ve been missing what is right in front of you. Work to change what you can while you embrace where and who you are.
  15. Your age is not an excuse to be lazy, uncaring or unknowledgeable. You’re not too young to stand up for what’s right, to fight for others, to make a difference.
  16. Don’t be shocked when reality doesn’t always meet your expectations. Things might turn out drastically different than you thought. Learning to adapt; being flexible and overcoming can change a lot.
  17. This life is not a competition. Instead of comparing, judging, tearing others down (even if it’s in your mind)…how about you celebrate one another in your differences and encourage and compliment each other where you see good.
  18. Not planning anything is the best way to live in the moment sometimes and enjoy the blessings you were given today.
  19. Everything fleeting on this earth will not give you lasting joy. Store your treasures in heaven.
  20. If you seek, you WILL find. If you ask, you WILL receive. If you knock, doors WILL be opened.

I Don’t Find God in Church

I Don’t Find God in Church

Lead Me to Wisdom

pexels-photo-460211

Sometimes we think that all the answers are at church. We think that to learn about God, we need to go to church. We think that to get “more spiritual” we should go to church. We think that our problems will be solved if we go to church. We think that we are closest to God at church.

And while church is very, very important, I have found that something radically different is true, at least for me.

Here’s the thing: church does not meet these needs.

➵ Church does not make me feel more spiritual.

➵ Church does not solve my problems.

➵ Sometimes I get bored during sermons.

➵ Church is not where I learn the most about God.

In fact, when I go to church with all of these expectations, I leave feeling a whole lot worse than when I came. Because it’s not up to church…

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The problem with self-love

The problem with self-love

It’s everywhere nowadays. On all those inspiring youtube channels, instagram accounts, blogs, tedx talks. They say with just enough self-love you can overcome, you can achieve anything, you can become the best version of yourself and have all the confidence you need. This all seems positive…but is it really the answer? Is self-love really gonna fix your brokenness? Will it fill that emptiness? It’s all “good”. But there’s an extra “o” in there. It’s missing the whole point. GOD.
Shouldn’t God be where we find our strength to overcome, whom we turn to for wisdom and strength and where we find our confidence?

“The only good in me is God in me.”

Read that again.

God is the real source. GOD himself is LOVE. He is truth, peace, hope, light, kindness, righteousness, holy, merciful, sovereign, powerful, and pure. He is faithful, the beginning and the end. He is our comfort, our shield, our provider, our joy. His ways are right, His word eternal, His will unchanging and His mind is on us.

How can we leave out the whole source!? It’s like giving credit to a lightbulb for shining…but we all know it has no way of shining without the source, energy, a battery, electricity. It’s like praising a leg for being able to perform a sprint and not giving credit to the heart who is pumping oxygen through the blood and life through it. 

We give so much credit to self-achieved happiness and success. So much praise to people who overcome in their own strength. But I wouldn’t even be breathing without God giving me breath, and allowing me to wake up every morning. Pride is something I’ve really been trying to understand, and pick out in my own heart. It’s usually so subconsciously that I don’t even see it as pride or selfishness. Even just thinking “nah I’d rather finish this show before I call my mom back”…Nah I’d rather spend my time replying to all the wonderful comments I received, instead of giving encouragement and lifting others up. But the holy spirit leads and corrects and heals in the most beautiful way.

This also led me to think about how much control I really have. I’m a huge planner and organiser, I love making lists and writing out every idea and event happening. But sometimes even though I know exactly what’s going on in the next week, or even month (yeah I’m a freak), I’ll open my planner and still feel anxious. Because really what control do I have? The tiniest bump in the road could throw all my plans off. We have no way of avoiding major things like cancer, a financial or political crisis, natural disasters and obviously we can’t stop death.

But the good news is Jesus did. He didn’t just stop death, he defeated. He conquered. He overcame this world because He knew we wouldn’t be able to on our own.

He wants to be your source. Your source of love, joy, strength, wisdom, peace and everything you could ever need. Because He gives life, because He is alive and through Him you have the most abundant life you could possibly imagine.

 

Song to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HC08NgsPqA

Going the distance

Going the distance

As most of you already know…I’m in a long distance relationship. Of over 3 years of dating, more than half of it has been spent with us on opposite sides of the planet.

I guess sometimes there can be a certain stigma about LDRs. Some people freak out  before they even try it. Some don’t understand and think it’s impossible to be happy in a LDR.

Whenever the topic comes up (especially when I’m first getting to know someone) I often get the same responses. “I couldn’t do that”…”Isn’t that super hard!?”

Some people might even look down on it and think it’s dumb and will sooner or later fail anyways.

Here’s just what I want to say to anyone who is thinking about going into a LDR or is currently in one:

  • Your relationship is no less valid than any other relationship. It’s not silly. It’s worth it. And you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you any different.
  • Plan trips – when you know when you’ll see each other again it makes things SO much easier.
  • If you can’t do big things together. The little things are just as important. Send gifts. Letters. Anything to surprise them.
  • When you do see each other – have a normal day. Don’t plan everything.
  • Trust is key. And obviously communication is key. Talking about anything and everything. Often.

Something that I’ve experienced as a plus is that you get more time to yourself. Of course it can be sad because you want to share every memory with them, but try to look at it this way. You have so much time for growth, reflection, for your family, friends and maybe to do the things that you wouldn’t necessarily be doing with your significant other. But I just want to encourage you to: (1) use the time apart to work on yourself but also (2) to invest in the ones around you just as much. It’s not just time (or years) wasted because you’re waiting to see the other person again. You still have your own life. And maybe it’s a bit easier now to still invest in growing in character, faith, your hobbies or learning how to cook and clean (me lol).

It makes sense that time spent together leaves both of us 10x more thankful and appreciative of what we DO have. The distance truly makes every hour together so much more special.

I just hope that you don’t give up on a relationship simply because of distance. And I want to encourage you to pray about it, wether it’s before you go into the long distance, or if you’re already in it. Pray for wisdom on how to go about it. Pray for patience (it takes a lot sometimes-especially with yourself). And pray for direction when you feel like things might not be working out.

I promise with God you can make it through.

 

And you can even thrive together.

 

What’s meant to be. Will be.

In His perfect timing.

 

 

Song to listen to: Surrounded (Fight My Battles) – Michael W. Smith

Video to watch 😉 : Across the World

 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6