When the passion burns low

Honestly?

Recently I haven’t felt like I am the one qualified to be talking and posting about how we need to love God and other people more and how we need to pursue Him farther and harder and deeper.

Because I’m the one that has been falling short. I haven’t had my devotions every day or spent extended times in prayer pursuing the face of God recently. I struggled with this 24/7 for the past few weeks wondering why the passion has grown so dim.

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I felt like I lost my wonder and gratefulness of the cross and the mercy and grace of God. I’ve realized this, and was so mad at myself and discouraged for feeling this way, and I did nothing about it. Until this morning when I was reading 1 John 1.

Verses 1 through 4 say,

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

As I thought about that, I realized that I have no right to not believe or not thank the Lord for all He has done in my life…..no matter if I feel like He’s been working lately or not. He has done amazing things in me. Even though I might not have a testimony of being addicted to bad habits or bad influences, I was saved from facing the wrath of God.

Jesus took the axe for me. I should have been the one to die, but He took it on Himself instead.

Maybe I am the only one, but I think that it’s easy to lose our wonder of the gospel when we have grown up in a church and have heard it every Sunday for years and years. We quickly throw out that we were saved when we were 6 and we know that Jesus died for us on the cross and took away our sins without giving any thought to what that actually means to us. But these things we have known since the beginning – we have heard these things and seen these things and known these things. We are the ones who have the hope!

And for an example of the way that God loves to reinforce things when He wants to show us something, I walked into a college class a few minutes after journaling about 1 John 1, and I found out the topic that day was the Gospel, and how we need to have the FIRE instead of just going through the motions.

Okay God.

The professor was a local senior pastor and some of the first words he spoke hit home.

“Every testimony, no matter how ‘normal’, is a story of amazing grace.”

When we begin to realize this, our whole outlook changes. We will walk and live differently. God chose us to be ALIVE in Him. No longer a people who will face Him in terror on Judgement Day, but a people made holy by the cross. He no longer looks on us and sees our sin, but He only sees the cross that covers our sin and ugliness.

And if we as Christians back off on telling people about this life-giving hope that we have, what hope does the world have??

I want this urgency to talk about Jesus to burn like a fire in my heart. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish that I had given Jesus more. I don’t want to wish I had laid down more for Him or wish that I hadn’t just gone through the motions but had pursued Him and loved Him and followed Him in the deepest parts of my soul.

God chose me, so I want to choose Him. Even when I feel like a royal mess and I don’t feel qualified to talk about following Him because I haven’t been doing the best at following Him.

I don’t want to ever stop talking about Him because I don’t want to ever stop being amazed at the grace He has shown me.

Waiting For Happily Ever After

Sister, did you cry on Valentine’s day?
Me too.

Did your heart maybe say some ugly words as you walked past the couple staring lovingly into each other’s eyes while you were getting your coffee?
Me too.

Did you laugh and smile when they said it’s also “Happy Single’s Awareness Day,” and pretend that it was all okay?
Me too.

 Pieces // Steffany Gretzinger // From the album "Have It All":
photo via Pinterest

I was hoping that this Valentine’s Day I’d be happy and carefree and proud to be single.
But no.
It was hard to see my best friends that evening and know that they had a romantic date to get to yet that night while I was headed to a café to eat alone. And go home. Alone.

And not have a boy that you love to give you a hug and tell you that he loves you and he hoped you had a fabulous Valentine’s Day.

If you’re there too,

Sister, I feel you. Join the club.

We just want our Prince Charming to come riding up today, DANG IT.

We so easily get trapped in that feeling of loneliness that is so hard to climb out of. The enemy knows how to keep our hearts captive by feeding the lies that there will never be a boy to love you and everyone thinks you’re ugly and you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.

The enemy is quick to point out all the cute tumblr couples and sappy Instagram posts and perfectly posed Pinterest pictures that are all great on their own, but lead to comparison so quickly if we let them. We want a boy to love us NOW.

But is that what we really want?

Do we really want to skip these seasons of our lives and go straight to the end? This time of year hurts for many people, but the Lord has a big plan through it all. Maybe this wasn’t the Valentine’s Day that you were hoping for and the movies and cards and sappy Instagram posts made you cry, but it’s not over yet.

This season is contributing to your happily ever after.
It’s all part of the real-life fairy tale, and the ending will be oh so much sweeter if you let the Lord do His thing, and not force a relationship that isn’t His best for you.

It is so easy when you’re lonely to be so desperate for someone to love you that you are willing to throw your heart out to the first boy who will pay attention and tell you you’re pretty.
It’s not worth it.

You’ll know when it’s HIS best for you, and please don’t settle for anything less.

 

Even When You Can’t See

Staying passionate is something that I think we all aspire to.
We want to constantly be so in love with Christ that it just spills out into everything that we do and we cannot stop talking about Him and His goodness.
So we go to a conference or a worship service that inspires us. And for a week we are head-over-heels in love with Jesus.
But two weeks later, we’re back to were we started.
And then we start to beat ourselves up and wonder if we’re actually a Christian if we can’t stay in love with Jesus.

Or is it just me?

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I think we need to be honest with ourselves.

We are going to go through mountain-top experiences in our Christian walk. We’re going to be so in-love with Jesus that everyone can see that the glow and the smile on our faces is from Him
But we’re also going to go through dry valleys. dark tunnels.
We need to prepare ourselves for hard times. We need to realize that these are the times where we dig down deep and press into God. Even when we can’t “feel” Him. These are the times to truly pursue His heart. These are the times that your roots are going to grow deeper as you learn to trust Him even when you can’t see Him.

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And the mountain-top experiences?

Praise Him. Praise Him with every breath within you. And as you worship Him, He will allow you to experience His majesty as He pours out His love on you.

Learn to accept both seasons.
We need to love our love and delight for God drive everything that we do. We need to let our gratefulness for all He has done in our lives push us forward into tomorrow.

We need to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving for all He has done, and also realizing our need for more and more of the Father.

During the good times and the hard times, He is still good. Don’t ever doubt that.
Anchor yourself in the foundation that you are marked by His delight.
He is always for you.
Whether you can feel Him or not.

 

If you think you’re alone

Why is it that we think we are the only one going through life awkwardly…messily.

That we are the only one who struggles with “that” issue?

That we are the only one who has those fears hidden deep inside our hearts?

Why is it that we feel as though we are the only broken human.

Why is that we feel alone?

 

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We pass others on the street with our heads down, oblivious to their lives. The hurts that they have. The fears that they struggle with, that might be the same as ours. We don’t realize that every day we interact with others who feel just as alone as we do.

I want to tell you.

There is a place for you, for them. A place where you don’t have to feel alone.

 

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There is a place for your fears. For your good side. For your bad side. For your talents. For your bad habits. Everything. There is a place for you. A very special place in the kingdom chosen for you before you ever existed.

Instead of striving to be better on your own, drown yourself in the reality of who you already are. Your identity as His child.

Immerse yourself in His love.

And be alive and aware of other people and the stories and fears that they have.
Extend to them the same grace that has been extended to you.

You are a mess. They are a mess. But you don’t have to be a mess alone.

Because you have a place.

Bless > Impress

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Shauna Neiquist said, “With people, you can connect and you can compare, but you can’t do both.”

You can choose to have a relationship.
Or you can choose to stand back and evaluate what they have that’s better than yours.

You can bless them, or you can impress them. But you can’t do both.

The bottom line is: you can live from a place filled with the love and joy of the Holy Spirit, or you can live from a place of desperation-reaching-searching for anything you can say or do that will make you “enough.” Whether that is comparing what you have to what she has and deciding you have the best, or realizing that she has the best and deciding to not like her.

These cycles of comparison always hurt you and others far more than you realize.

Choosing to live from a place filled with love will allow you to accept yourself. You will begin to know the heart of the Father towards you and through that, you will be able to love yourself and other’s the way that He would. You will be able to end the cycle of comparison.

God calls you beloved-can you call yourself beloved?

To those who are able to be brave, and have the courage to show up. I want to thank you. Thank you for living and loving from a brave and authentic place. To those who are able to connect instead of compare. We need more people like you.

We need to start accepting ourselves as we are. Accepting our gifts. Our talents as well as our flaws. Accept our lives. Accept the adventures we been given as well as the trials we have endured.

We need to choose to go up to that girl who looks like she has it all together.
Maybe her outfit all matches while yours has a coffee stain as well as a hole you just found while you were driving to work that morning. But chances are, she’s hurting as much or more as you are. Choose to get to know her before you compare your insides to her outsides.

When you choose to accept yourself and your identity as His beloved, you are able to truly connect with others and show them their identity in Him as well.