Tag Archives: God

living my truth

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So, I gotta be honest. This phrase drives me bonkers.

Like, legitimately might be my biggest pet peeve with people these days.

“Living my truth” seems to be the kool kid phrase of our culture right now. When celebrities/public figures/people with influence are asked questions in interviews about an.y.thing. that could have a moral standard attached to it, they typically respond with something along the lines of, “Well, I just think it’s really important for us to find our truth and live that out. Ya know, just, living in your own truth can bring you so much happiness and freedom.”

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Yes, Anna. Stop that. Stop that right now.

Although, she’s probably said it too…sigh…

ANYWAYS. Back to my rant.

My issue with this whole “find your truth and live it thing” is that we can’t ALL decide what truth is. I don’t get to decide the 100% actuality of a thing.

And I think my biggest hangup with the whole dang thang is that we pick and choose what we want to be true in order to serve our own selfish desires and fleeting pleasures.

If I decide that the truest truth is that Mexican food is the truest form of good food and that you are a demon-spawn if you don’t like it, and you disagree with me, who is right? Does your inability to realize truth in its highest form (my truth, that is) remove your rights/value/dignity as a human?

(I mean, in this case probably because Mexican food is delicious)

NO. Absolutely not.

Because guess what…that isn’t truth. It isn’t an indisputable fact.

Chinese food is good.
Pizza is good.
Queso is…wait….queso is Mexican. Never mind.

My point is, I cannot be the final decision maker when it comes to truth. Nor do I WANT to be the final decision maker. I feel like we are all so inadequate at deciding ANYTHING, especially what truth is. Mainly because we are all so fickle and selfish and just…well…ill equipped.

We were made by the only arbiter of truth, and that is God Himself.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things (including truth) were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing (including truth) made that was made.

John 1:1-3

If we submit to God as the Creator of all that we see and know, we have to submit to Him as the Creator of truth as well.

We don’t get to only submit to parts of God’s commands and character. His Word was not given as a mere suggestion on how to live your best life now.

No. His Word was/is given as the truest form of truth we can know. Jesus was given as the complete embodiment of Truth – so that we might have a Savior from our sinful ways and an Example of how to submit to the One whose truth gives life and freedom.

Submission to God and His actual truth does not lay heavy bondage on my life.
Living in a world (even if it’s my own world in my head) where I get to choose truth and it changes all of the time — that is what causes bondage, and anxiety, and heartbreak, and disillusionment, and, well, a lost and weary soul.

Submission to God, instead, frees us up to rest in knowing His truth will lead to life everlasting, it never changes, and that it is for my good and His glory. Living in God’s truth frees me from living a lie of working my way into His grace.

I’d rather live in the truth of the Creator who has been faithful throughout history than try to figure out my own truth every morning.

Man. What a friggin burden to bear. I’ll let Someone else tell me what truth is.

It just seems easier — more life-giving — that way.

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psalm 31 – pt. 1

psalm 31

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me; a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

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I’ve been staring at these five verses for the last 20 minutes.

Well…staring at them, checking Instagram, staring at them, opening my email, staring at them…just…well…avoiding the work.

You see, writing is sacred space for me. It’s holy ground that God has invited me to stand on with Him, exploring who He is, who I am, and discovering how we’re going to live this life together.

And sometimes I have nothing.
No place to start.
No words to write.
No sentences to form.

And tonight has been one of those nights.

I didn’t think I had anything to offer, so I avoided the sacred arena God has invited me in to.

And underneath that, I think there’s a strange hint of shame – believing the lie that this time will be the time I have nothing to offer. This time will be the time people read and think, “Welp, she’s lost her stuff, so never gonna read that again!”
A tinge of unworthiness creeps in and starts to close the door.

But then I come back to these 5 verses I’ve been staring at, and shame gets a nice slap in the face.

It is the LORD that I take refuge in – not myself or my words or my real good sentences that have perfect structure and never run on and on without purpose.  🙂

It is God who delivers me by His righteousness, for His name’s sake, not allowing shame to take over.

The snares and traps that are hidden by the enemy, well, He plucks me up right out of them – because of His great love for me. He is my rock and my fortress – nothing can overtake me when Yahweh is the guardian of my life.

I love that the beginning of this psalm is all declaration – who God is, what He has done, and what the writer needs Him to continue to be. There is a lot of confidence in this God we believe in, the One whom all of our hope and faith relies on.

So, when I’m afraid of the sacred, holy arena God extends the invite to join Him in, I hope to take a page from this psalmist and demand the He rescue me speedily. Because He is a redemptive, faithful God, and I’d rather commit myself to no-one else.

Whatever your sacred space is, step in to it this week, knowing that the Faithful One is and will forever be your refuge and comfort, and shame has no bearing when He is the rock on which you stand.

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jealous in the best of ways

jealous blog

This summer my church is going through a series on the attributes of God. And a fun thing we’re doing along with this attributes series is sharing videos of members’ experiences with who God is to them, specific to the attribute being covered that week.

So, Tiffany talks about God as Father.
Rich talks about God’s glory.
Emily talks about God’s goodness.
Sally talks about God’s faithfulness.

And Kayla…well…Kayla talks about God’s jealousy.

When I first learned we were going to go through this series, my little heart grew 3 sizes too big.

I love love love learning and talking about the character and attributes of God.
I love discussing with my friends what God is like, who He is to them, how His character is reflected in us and how we reflect Him to the world around us. It’s one of my favorite pastimes to sit across a table or porch or living room from someone near to my heart and talk about our Creator.

But when I was asked to talk about God’s jealousy…well…my heart went back to normal person sized.

The term “jealous” doesn’t carry a very godly feeling with most of us.
I tend to think of my high school boyfriend that got upset when I wanted to spend Friday night with my gal pals.
I think of my college friend that got mad at me because I chose something else over time with her.
I think of myself when I get upset because yet another person has gotten engaged while I’m over here eating leftover shrimp fajitas for the next 1.7 weeks because I don’t know how to cook for 1.

So, as I started to look in to God’s jealousy – thinking I was going to blow the whole gig – I realized that it fits just about as perfectly into my story as Michael Jackson’s hand fit into that white glove.

You see, when we hear jealous, the emotion we mere mortals typically attach to it is actually envy. Envy, according to Webster, is: the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has; painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.

Jealousy is different.
Jealousy is: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness.

So, by definition, if you are jealous of me, you are not willing to accept or allow my unfaithfulness.

So, when God is jealous, He is really jealous for me. He will not tolerate my worship of other gods. He will not tolerate anything that rivals Him in my heart. He will not accept my chasing after other gods that never have and never will satisfy.

After really thinking on that, I started to get all weepy.

So, wait a second…you’re telling me that GOD loves me SO MUCH that He is unwilling to let my heart and my affections turn toward something other than Him?
So, you’re saying that, much like Gomer in the book of Hosea, He loves me in such a way that He is going to take me out into the wilderness where it’s just Him and me, and we’re gonna figure this crap out for as long as it takes because my very soul is worth it?
You’re saying that, because He loves me and is jealous for me, He’s not going to let me die by whoring my heart out to things that cannot save or redeem me?

YES?

YES!

Flipping YES.

Can you imagine?! What kind of God is this?! This God that sticks with His people!? This God that, instead of throwing us off to the side, He steps in and sets our hearts right again!?

You see, God isn’t envious of that which His creation has.
He is jealous for our very souls.
He is unwilling to let us die without stepping in, drawing us close, cleansing us of all unrighteousness, bearing the penalty of our sin, dying in our place, and rising again on the third day – defeating sin and satan and the grave once and for all.

His jealousy is beyond my comprehension. But man, oh man, am I’m so thankful for it.

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psalm 28

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Have I ever told you how much I love the psalms? How I adore David’s heart and his unabated laying-down of all of his hardships and delight in the Lord?

Often, in my prayers, I am nervous about telling God that He needs to listen to me – that when I cry for help, I need Him to answer me. Making demands of God seems to be risky business to me – and I’m not talking about the Tom Cruise kind.

Yet, I continue to read and read and read David’s pleas and prayers to the Lord. And the more I read them, the more I see that God is 100% okay with me telling Him exactly how I feel. He loves me so greatly – so scandalously – that He actually wants to work through my hurts, hardships, tragedies, and triumphs.

My view of how God sees me continues to become so personal and so delight-filled, yet, at the same time, there is so much more that I don’t know or understand.

I can’t fully understand how the God that created all that we see and know, made man & woman and breathed into them His breath of life – that God wants me to bring my heart to Him and commune in His presence. That God hears my pleas for mercy. That God is my saving refuge.

That God will be my shepherd and carry me forever.

I just can’t wrap my mind around it.
And I’m totally okay with living in that mysterious unknown.

To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the works of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

 

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psalm 22 (pt.1)

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I typically read through/write about an entire psalm, but this week I just can’t even you guys. There’s some stuff I need to sit with.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted; the trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

v.1-5

Why have You forsaken me?
Why have You not relieved me from this pain?
Do you even hear me?
Do you even care?

I ask God questions like this quite a bit. And I’m comforted to know I’m not the only one. Even the man they say was THE MAN after God’s own heart (that’s David, btw) questioned God.

He doubted for a hot second.
He wondered if God really was THE GOD He says He is.

I don’t get it.
I don’t fully understand how it can often feel as if God just doesn’t give a rip about my groaning. That I continually cry out and find no relief from the Great Healer.

It seems as if rest is illusive and the Lord is somehow using hard seasons of life to teach me some mean lesson.

If I were God, I would have given me what I wanted by now, because dangit I deserve it! I’ve been through enough! I’ve learned my lesson!

But then….

I am reminded that He has not changed.
He has not moved.
He is still holy and enthroned on high.

He has delivered those that have trusted in Him.

I’m so thankful the True God that loves me allows me to doubt Him for a hot second. That He welcomes the why-have-you-forsaken-me’s and the why-are-you-so-far’s.

So that’s what I’m going to sit with tonight.

I’m going to bang on His door and let myself in.
I’m going to have a chat with Him about the state of my heart.
But while I’m doing it, I’m going to remember that He is still God, He is still good, and He still loves me.

That the gift of redemption and complete restoration through Jesus Christ is still mine.

 

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realizing your basically just like an ancient tribe

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(just me waving ‘Hi’ from a corn field. photo creds to the ever-lovely H Mae.)

I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus lately. It’s taking me a while to get through the book, but in a weird way, I’m glad I wasn’t so disciplined and rigid about getting through it in a specific time frame. (Read: I just didn’t read it as regularly as a good Christian would have…) [also, please note sarcasm when you read “good Christian would have…”] {okay, I think I’m done with parentheses/brackets now}

Also, I just saw a motorcyclist drive past Starbucks with a GoPro on his helmet. $3 says he pulls some street trix tonight.

I get distracted easily.

Back to Exodus.

So, I’m reading through and early on in the book I’m just totally blow away by God showing up with His people. I can consistently see Yahweh coming to His people, actively working to redeem them. And I was always like, “YES! I KNOW this God! I see and feel His active redemption in my life too!”

Then I get to the part(s) of the book where the people of Israel decide it’s a good idea to open their mouths. And grumble. And question God. And sorta roll their eyes at Him and complain about dumb stuff.

Specifically in chapter 15 they are complaining about some bitter water. I can sense some smart mouth (probably named Kayla) saying, “Well, what are we gonna do now? What are we supposed to drink?!”

I read that and immediately wrote down, “The people of Israel didn’t give God time to work. They immediately began grumbling.”

Then again, in chapter 17, the issue of water comes up again! Geez Israel, stop being so thirsty!!

Anyways, they move from the wilderness and “there was no water for the people to drink.” They go before Moses and complain, again, and he goes before the Lord on their behalf, again, and God (I imagine) gives Moses a slight eyebrow raise and says, “Watch this…”

God literally tells Moses to hit this random rock with his staff & water will pour out of it. And it does. Water flows from a ROCK. Because, God.

What gets me about this passage though, is what comes in verse 7:

He called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Here’s what Kayla’s scribblings say about this: It’s so funny/amusing to me when Israel doubts God’s presence or goodness during their time of physical need – YET, I am just like that. If I want/desire something physical, material, and God doesn’t give it to me in my time frame, I ask with Israel, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Hi, I’m Kayla, and I am just like ancient Israel.

Israel experienced the plagues in Egypt, walked THROUGH THE RED SEA on DRY GROUND, was led through the wilderness by a pillar of fire and a cloud of smoke…AND THEY STILL QUESTIONED GOD’S GOODNESS.

Kayla has experienced God’s faithfulness in her life in MULTIPLE ways, YET STILL DOUBTS GOD’S GOODNESS!

It is easy to forget how truly good God is when things aren’t going our way – in relationships, jobs, friendships, financially, *insert scenario here*.

I’m not going to pretend like I never get ticked with God. In fact, He and I had a really long conversation last weekend about how mad I was at Him. But you know what? He is still good. He still lovingly draws me in and says, “I know. I know it’s hard for you right now. I know your heart hurts. But just wait until the morning. Wait until you can see what I see.”

I’m holding on to that right now. I may be frustrated. I may be hurt. But I’m holding on to a God who sees the promised land before I do and knows that I will get there in due time.

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I Sometimes Think I’m Better Than You

One of my favorite psalms to read when I’m feeling particularly self-righteous is Psalm 73. In this psalm, the author Asaph writes of his envy of the people around him, and that is something that I can relate to.

I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (verse 3)
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. (verse 12)
All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. (verse 13)

Multiple times in my life I have thought like this. I look at those around me and think, “seriously?! They got the promotion? They got married, to THAT person?! They’re___________(fill in the blank of whatever I’m not at the moment)?!”

I’m so caught up in my selfishness that I miss the whole point. I miss that my life isn’t about me. I miss that I’m not staring in the lead role in this movie of life. I miss that God is the Creator and I am the creation.

I say to myself, “Pocahontas, you are such a good person, you follow all the rules, you check most things off of your to-do list daily, why do you not have what everyone else has? You’re a wwwaaayyy better person than most, so why do they leave the party with all the goodie bags?!”

Asaph recognizes that he be actin a fool himself. He continues on in the psalm:

But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. (verses 16-18)
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterword you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…But for me it is good to be near God; I have made The Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. (verses 23-26, 28)

I am not the point of my life, Jesus is. My flesh and my heart will fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I sometimes think I’m better than you and it frustrates me. I get mad about the fact that I don’t have what others do.

But then God gently draws me up onto His lap and reminds me that I have Him, that it is good for me to be near Him. That I’m not better than anyone, yet He still loves me. And He loves you too, because that’s the kind of God He is.

And that is the greatest possession of all.

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