The Christian Walk is … Hard.

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Today I realized that being a Christian is not easy.  It’s just not.  I realized that accepting Jesus is easy because I have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus … God has paid the price for all of my filth.  I’m loved, forgiven, I’m redeemed … but this whole “carry your cross” thing is HARD! 

Matthew 16:24-25

New International Version (NIV)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

 

Freedom comes with great responsibility.  I’m an overcomer!  God’s faithfulness freed me from the grasp of anxiety and depression.  Now, this does not mean I don’t ever deal with anxiety or feel overwhelmed – because I still do.  In fact, I almost want to call it a “thorn in my flesh” that keeps me humble and keeps me knowing that it is God who has saved me from anxiety and depression and not my own power.  I have no power without my relationship with Jesus.  Jesus has given us great power and with that comes great responsibility.

John 14:12-14

New International Version (NIV) (Jesus speaking)

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Matthew 10:7-8

New International Version (NIV) (Jesus speaking)

7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

During worship today at church I just felt this overwhelming sense of how small I truly am.  I get puffed up.  I think I know it all at times and I make hard judgments on others who I think should live their lives differently.  I think I make those judgments because I care about the person but truly, at the core of it, I think I just make those judgments to make myself feel better about how I live my own life.  

I can easily forget that when I first fell in love with Jesus I was proclaiming the gospel like crazy on one hand (and meant it) but then on the other I was hitting up the clubs, cussing, gossiping, and drinking to the point of DRUNK frequently.  I was broken!  I became friends with other broken females and lived with drama and confusion all the time.  I was a mess.  I know now, looking back, I was a HOT mess, but I am so humbled by the women that God placed in my life as I was moving through those seasons, that loved on me like CRAZY! I know they saw my hot-messiness and yet they still loved on me and had faith in me. They didn’t try to change me or make hard judgments on me. They held me accountable and prayed for me.

It’s easy to forget where you started.  It’s easy to forget how ugly your heart can still be.  That’s why it feels good in our flesh to tear down others or judge them so we can feel a little better about ourselves.  

Matthew 7:5

New International Version (NIV) (Jesus speaking)

5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.)

Ouch!

I recently went through a “phase” of watching a lot of T.V..  If you know me, you know I NEVER watched T.V.  a lot.  I just don’t have time.  Whatever the latest thing is on T.V., I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, and I can’t have a 30 minute conversation with you about the characters or what-not.  I just have never really cared much for T.V.

While on maternity leave with Sway, I started watching Netflix (we don’t have cable but we stream Netflix).  I started letting my brain just turn to mush.  There would be days where my heart was so hungry for The Word of God and I had every intention of coming home and reading The Word but the baby would need a bottle and I was bored so I would turn on the T.V. and watch something.  

I’m embarrassed to admit that I watched every single episode of Dawson’s Creek before I started working a couple of months ago.  Think about it… 128 episodes, 45 minutes per episode = 5,760 minutes.  I spent 5,760 minutes of my life watching Dawson’s Creek.  What the!??!?! That’s 96 hours! That’s 4 days overall.  That’s not it!  I watched every episode of Parks & Recreation.  That’s 88 episodes at 28 minutes per episode.  That’s 2,464 minutes.  41 hours! 1.7 days.  I watched other things too but those two shows really took up a lot of my time.  Those two shows alone took up almost 6 full days of my life.  6 days I will never get back.  6 days that brought no glory to God.  6 days of empty.

Let me tell you something sad.  Once Dawson’s Creek ended – I felt like I had lost my friends.  I felt a sadness in my heart, seriously, that felt like my best friends had moved away. I had spent so much time with Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen, and Jack … LOL!  For days after the show ended I felt sad.  I kept having to search myself to find out what I was so sad about.  

Now- I did not spend 6 days straight watching these shows so it was spread out over some time but STILL!  I’m not saying T.V. is necessarily bad but I am saying be careful.  An idle mind is the Devil’s playground and getting lost in imaginary lives on a T.V. show can be scary.  If you’ve got your show – you’ve got your show!  It’s usually a once a week, coupe of hours type things and to each their own … but be careful.

A lot of us complain that we don’t have enough time to read our Bibles or spend time with the Lord but I can attest that we fill our lives with busyness.  We turn the T.V. on or scroll through Facebook when we’re “bored”.

It’s so easy to just sit back and let your mind be filled with nothing but it takes effort to pray and read the Bible.  It takes effort to go to church on Sunday.  It takes effort to grow friendships and hold people accountable.  It takes effort to push a ministry forward even when God switches the season on you and makes you go back to work in the corporate world.  It takes effort not to join the office gossip and negativity.  It takes effort to pray over your kids and demand that Satan sit his tail down somewhere far from your home.  It takes effort to take thoughts captive that try to enslave you.

During worship at church today, I just happened to look around and I didn’t see many people with their hands raised or singing out.  I don’t understand how we can stand in the presence of the Lord in worship and NOT lift our hands or raise our voices.  He is worthy to be praised.  He has done so much for us.  He is so intimate in the details of our lives.  He has saved us from the pit of hell and yet we stand (or sit) in worship, drinking our Starbucks, numb.  What?!!? 

Luke 19:37-40

New International Version (NIV)

37 When he (Jesus) came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I don’t want the stones to cry out because I refuse to open my mouth and praise God.  Christian – you should NOT be embarrassed at church with other Christians to sing out or raise your hands.  If Christianity is more of a cultural “stamp” for you rather than a lifestyle then I’m sorry … you’re missing out! 

Being a follower of Jesus Christ has been so rewarding.  I know that it will only get better with time and ultimately I’ll receive the final reward of meeting Jesus face to face.  It’s hard though.  Choosing every day to be be free and to follow Jesus.  Choosing to listen to God’s voice rather than the enemy’s lies.  Choosing to have self control rather than indulging in the flesh.  

It’s hard but it’s rewarding.  It’s gonna be worth it!

To God be all the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

Hebrews 12:1-3

New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

xoxo

April

Forgive My Absence

brb

Hi friends,

I just happened to take a look at my blog and realized I am seriously slippin.  Sorry about that!

As most of you know I recently transitioned from Stay-At-Home-Mom/Ministry Leader to now full time Human Resources chick/Wife/Mom/Ministry Leader = YIKES!

God has totally graced this season for me and I love my new job but the transition has been… well, … a transition.

I really feel that God has called me to a season of ‘chill’.  My engine is ALWAYS running.  I’m always trying to create new ideas, bring people together, and save the world.  Although those are GREAT attributes – they are tiring when not Spirit led.  God’s word to me MANY times in my life is: “Activity is not necessarily productivity.”  Jeez!  Doesn’t He just know it ALL?

So all that to say – here I am updating you with a lil’ somethin’ to keep you in the loop.

Healed Whole New is still very much alive and active.  We are focusing now on behind the scenes stuff – you know, the stuff that REALLY matters at the core of it all, like being alone with God, serving, praying, reading the Word, being a one on one friend for those in need, being attentive to my children and husband without being spread so thin, and taking care of ME.  Exercise and what not.  So that’s where I am and that’s where HWN is for the moment.

I love how God can give us our desires, lead us on the path we just KNOW we’re supposed to be on and then BOOM! He sends us in a different direction.  I don’t know about you but I’m the type of chick that’s like – “Wait??!?! What?!?!? But we’re going this way.  Everything was going good this way so why go that other direction? ”  Yeah, that’s me.  I’m so glad that God is in control and not ME!   So, I turn the other direction and go. I may not always understand but I always know God is good and His plans for me are amazing.  His plans give me a hope and future – not my own plans.

I’m rambling but I just wanted to say hi to you guys, let you know I’m praying for you, and ask you to continue praying for the ministry. I’m looking forward to gathering together again to pray, worship, encourage, and do life together as rockin’ God chicks (and dudes) who live our lives with our hearts in eternity with our King, Jesus!

Love to you!

xoxo

A

www.healedwholenew.com