Posts Tagged ‘faith’

A letter to myself

Lose sight of perfection, and get lost in the journey. Be okay with falling, failing. Be okay with scars. Be okay with never being quite good enough. Be okay if the finish line moves with every step you take. As you improve so do the expectations placed on you. As you go high, anticipate harder falls. But when you fall, don’t stay down. Don’t stay defeated.

 

Don’t let sadness engulf you or misery define you. When people criticize you take whatever you can from it, but do not internalize it. Hear it, listen to it, learn from it, and let it go.

 

Don’t let the sadness of a previous day follow you for the rest of the week. Don’t hide yourself from hurt. Allow it to hit you like a wave, then wash it away. Wake up every day and try your best. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and be grateful for another day.

 

Let perspective find you, let joy lift you up. Find a shoulder to cry on, and if none appear, tell your troubles to Jesus. He has the kindest ear, the softest heart, the biggest smile, and a light that brings cheer.

 

You are okay, if not, you will be. The weight you carry will grow lighter as you become stronger. Believe in yourself the way you believe in others. Have faith, love, and hope. Be kind, and don’t forget to smile.

 

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Condemnation

 

Today I take the power away from you to tear me down with your words. To shake my confidence. To make me feel like I am a failure. I won’t let you or anyone else have that power. Not anymore.

 

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10)

 

When you derive your sense of worth from anything outside of God, it can easily be taken away. The same people, person, institution that builds you up can tear your down in a single instance. With a single word. Even if you derive your worth from your sense of self, one day you will inevitably fall short even by your own standards.

 

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. (John 8:11)

 

You may not feel worthy, or deserving, or even good. But God doesn’t shun you in your brokenness. Jesus doesn’t kick us when we are down; He extends His hands to lift us up.

 

Be lifted up oh my soul. You are a child of the King.

 

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Running from pain

We are always running.

 

Okay, let me try this again.

 

trapped

 

I have spent most of my life running. Running from suffering. Avoiding loss. Trying not to get hurt. Afraid.

 

But Jesus wasn’t afraid of suffering. He embraced it on the cross for us. For me. He lived His entire life knowing how and when it would be over. He knew that He would be separated from all those dear to Him. That no one would fully understand Him, or His purpose. That though surrounded by disciples and the multitude, He would still be alone because they couldn’t fully understand His struggle. Only He knew that He was going somewhere they couldn’t follow.

 

I’ve been so afraid of losing that sometimes I held on to things more tightly than I should have. I lived trapped in a box of fear. Always afraid of getting a text, a phone call, a message that spelled doom for myself or my loved ones.

 

But to live in fear of suffering, loss, sickness, or death, is to prevent yourself from fully living. Negative circumstances and pain is unavoidable. But we don’t have to let hurt change and cripple us. All we can do is pray for strength.

 

Recently I went to go watch a movie that displayed the relationship Jesus has with those of His children who are suffering. In this movie the protagonist not only got to meet Jesus but he got to meet God as well. He began to accuse God of leaving Jesus when He (God) let Him (Jesus) die on the cross. But then God showed the protagonist of this story, His (God’s) own nail-pressed hands. God too was wounded by Jesus’ sacrifice. God told him (the protagonist) that He (God) never left Jesus. Just like He (God) never leaves us.

 

Yes you will face overwhelming circumstances, but God will never leave you. Jesus will never turn His face from you. There is no one better to have on your team. God is more than a mother or a father; he is also a brother, a sister, and a friend. He has your back. He will carry you when you are weak. When you forget Him He will still remember you. I have turned away from God. I felt like He had deserted me. But even as I turned from Him: He kept me, protected me, and He drew me back to His side.

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Hated me first

 

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      They threw stones and it hurt

 

      I fell, tasted blood

 

      or was it dirt.

 

Life is such that you can either disappoint people or you can disappoint yourself. People can hate you, or you can hate yourself. It’s easy to stay in a place of sadness and self pity, but wallowing in misery does nothing to change your circumstances. At some point you need to accept the hand life has dealt you. Accept the the bad times just like you accepted the good and move forward. You can’t force anyone to stay in your life if they have decided it’s their time to go. God has a wonderful way of showing you what is right by taking things away, bringing new things in, and letting some of the old stay.

 

People often have negative things to say but if at every point in life you stay true to yourself and who you are, don’t worry about what everyone else has to say. Luke 6:26 says “Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you.” Instead of focusing on people who quite frankly don’t put food on your table, pay your bills, wake you up every morning, or lift you up when you’re down–focus on God who helps you do all these things. As a Christian when you realize Jesus was hated by many, it’s easier to accept that no matter who you are, people will hate you. In John 15:18, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

 

    Take heart. God Bless.

Comforted

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“I want to speak yet nothing comes
I find no words to express the depths of darkness
Sometimes I feel the pain is so great that everything will break
The smile is a big cloak that covers a multitude of pains”

Do you know who wrote these words??
I was listening to a TEDx talk on Hope and Hopelessness by Murray Watts and he read this quote. And then he turned to the audience and asked us (I’m saying us like I was there–but I watched the talk from the comfort of my bedroom. Definitely felt like I was part of the audience though).. He asked us, “Which famous 20th century figure penned these words?” And guess who it was?? MOTHER TERESA.

Yes, the same Mother Teresa who won the 1979 Nobel peace prize, who was referred to as the “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,” and who is admired by both the religious and non-religious for her lifetime dedication to helping others. The very same Mother Teresa who said “peace begins with a smile,” “let no one come to you without leaving happier,” and that “the smile is the beginning of love.”

The truth is Mother Teresa was human, just like us. After hearing this talk I searched for more of her writings in which she shares:

“There is so much contradiction in my soul, no faith, no love, no zeal. . . I find no words to express the depths of the darkness. . . My heart is so empty. . . so full of darkness. . . I don’t pray any longer. The work holds no joy, no attraction, no zeal. . . I have no faith, I don’t believe. . . my cheerfulness is a cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery. . . . I deceive people with this weapon.”

It’s kinda sad. That someone could be so outwardly amazing, but so inwardly broken. I think though that how she felt describes many people today. People who are so busy keeping up pretenses that they don’t have time to fall apart at Jesus’ feet. It is possible to have a genuine smile that crinkles your skin when it reaches your eyes. It is possible for you to be truly cheerful and be positive about life, even when circumstances are bleak. It is possible for the emptiness to go away, and to swim in faith and love.

I wanted to tell you about Mother Teresa, because in case you’ve ever felt hopeless, you’re in good company: You’re sitting next to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Job in the land of Uz, Paul in Macedonia (where he was “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” – 2 Corinthians 7:5). But in the next verse, Paul shares with us an assurance that still applies to us today: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” (2 Corinthians 7:6)

May God comfort you.

Safe/Control

feeling-safe
I run to him, and I am safe.

 

“But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety.” Deuteronomy 12:10

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!” Deuteronomy 20:1

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. ” Leviticus 26:6

 

Have you ever laid down to sleep in fear?

 

The writer Paulo Coelho writes in the Alchemist that “the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” Our thoughts control us. Whether for good or for evil. We are often limited by what we think we can’t do. And often times we limit God by dwelling on the fears of what God has already said he will take care of.

 

We are human, and as a result it is in our nature is to value the things that are seen more than the things that are unseen. We are more concerned with the love of those we can lay eyes on, feel their touch, and hear their voice. We strive to please parents, friends, teachers, lovers. And we forget to seek to please God. We assume that attempting to please God is like walking with no gravity.Like praying for sunshine in the middle of the night. Or like grasping for an orange from an apple tree. 

 

Nevertheless, that is our claim to faith. Our belief in something more. Something more than the things we see with our eyes. Something more than the immediate pleasures and sufferings of this world. It is the concept of a greater plan, a greater purpose for our life. To nonbelievers it is wishful thinking, it is a conscious rejection of scientific evidence and ‘reality.’

 

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

But the amazing thing is that people of all walks of life, with varying experiences, upbringing, and cultures are drawn to this belief. And what compels them? It’s not the rejection of common sense as most atheists are want to believe. But it’s the openness and awareness of a thread that runs through each and every one of our lives.

 

Death is inevitable. Till then our actions play a large role in the outcome of our life journey. But what controls these actions? It is our thoughts. Descartes said it best, “I think, therefore I am.” If you knew the outcome of your life hinged on a single strand of thoughts, what would you focus your mind on? “To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” (Henry David Thoreau)

 

What are thinking of today? Are you dwelling on failures, doubt, worry, and weaknesses? Or are you trusting in God? Are you trusting in Him to protect you from your enemies? To give you security? To give you peace?

 

Control your thoughts. Don’t let them control you.

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part-time Atheist.

“No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6; God’s Word Translation)

 

 

According to the bible, without faith, it is impossible to please God. The writer of Hebrews, then goes on to say, that having faith means 1) believing that God exists, and 2) believing that there is some benefit found in following him.

 

If you believe in God, but you don’t believe that there is any benefit to following him—you don’t have faith. And since knowing that God is good (Psalm 100:5, Mark 10:18, Psalm 119:68), and knowing that he rewards those who seek him (Philippians 4:19, James 1:17, Isaiah 41:10), is inextricably tied to who God is—denying his benefits is equivalent to denying his existence.

 

In Matthew 14:31, after Peter stepped out of the boat and began to sink, Jesus rebuked him saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In that moment, when Peter lost faith, he doubted who God was, and what God could do for him. In essence, in losing faith, he called into question God’s existence.

 

Often, when Christians gather together in groups at bible study, after church, or during prayer meetings, they sit down and just ‘wonder’ at the disbelieving Atheist.

“Tsk tsk” they say, completely aghast. “How could anyone live without Christ?” “I simply do NOT know(!) how I’d ever make it without God,” they sigh.

 

And what do the rest of do when we aren’t chiming-in in agreement? We nod our heads, raise our hands, and shout mercy(!), as we pity the poor unbeliever. Looking down from our church-bench on Saturday or Sunday, we wag our fingers the shortsighted atheist—who ‘luckily,’ of course, aren’t present to offer any rebuttal.

 

The fascinating thing is that when we claim to be Christians, yet become so lost in worry, fear, and doubt, we become no different than Atheists, who are at the very least consistent in their lack of faith. Like Peter who one day declared to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” but then the next day swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” (Mark 14: 31,71) Our relationship with God often wavers depending on our environment. And God forbid, we enter into severe trials or struggles, we sometimes completely loose faith in God. We become like Job and wonder as he wondered, “Why did I not die at birth?Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11)

 

It’s at moments like this, that we no longer believe that God rewards those who seek him.

 

We ask ourselves, “Where was God when…” or “How could God let this happen?” We look at our failure and our shortcomings and we wonder what we even gain by following God. At those moments when we doubt God’s goodness and his benefits, we are actually doubting his existence. We go to church, but we are worried about our future, our family, our job – or lack of a job. And at these moments of intense worry, pain, and doubt, ask yourself if you really believe that God exists.

 

 

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