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Love the blog and want to keep up with it?
It is now at http://aplainandsimplelife.squarespace.com!
This is a throwback post from May 27, 2018 that was never posted. I found it this morning and realized that I really needed this today.
So, about 6-7 months ago I heard the Lord tell me that it was time to move on a dream that I’d had for a long time: owning my own small art/handlettering business. After the initial excitement, I almost passed out from fear! 😭😂 I kept looking to people who were doing it better. I kept deflecting by asking for advice from people. I wanted everything so perfect that I wouldn’t move forward.
Yesterday, I told myself (& my friend for the purpose of accountability) that I was getting it done. Tonight, as I sat down to finish the website, I had a serious fear moment. In the midst of it, my sister came in and asked could she paint. I was immediately reminded of what it’s like to have childlike faith. She sat & painted her masterpiece within ten minutes, and got up from the table beaming with excitement. She couldn’t get over how much she loved it, and how happy it had made her. (I was even happy watching her be happy!) I was convicted of how long I’d put this off, and realized how hard it is to do anything apart from childlike faith. My sister didn’t care that her picture wasn’t perfect. She cared that she expressed her heart.
Our Father doesn’t care how perfect we try to make things. He cares about obedience and us expressing His heart in whatever avenue He’s asked us to use. We don’t have to be perfect. We have to be humble. His strength is made strong in our weaknesses, and His grace abounds where we are not qualified.
“Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in.”
(Matthew 18:3 TPT)
I’ve been listening to this new song by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger for a few days now called, “Good & Loved.” There’s this one line in the song that says, “What was and is is covered by the One who was and is your Cover.”
As I was listening to the song the other day, I had this moment where I was thinking about a situation that I’m processing forgiveness in. I heard that line from the song, and it was as if all of the hope filled me. I was reminded of Revelation, 1:8, “I am the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come.” As I listened, I was filled with this confidence that what was (what’s happened in the past) and what is (my present life) has been covered by the One who is the Beginning and the End, the One who was and One who is. There is NOTHING in my life that He will not cause to work together for my good.
I know that life can be tough, and there are seasons where it seems like the pain and injustice are nonstop, but we have to choose to believe that God does care about us. Today seems like a good day to ask the Holy Spirit for help if you’re struggling. You don’t have to have all of the fancy language. You can begin with, “Holy Spirit, I need your help.” Repent. Then, reject the accuser who comes to tell you that God isn’t for you, and that He won’t deliver you from this.
He’s a good God.
He loves you, He will cover you with His love, and you will see good come out of this.
That’s a promise.
P.S. Here’s that beautiful song.
I was driving to church yesterday listening to Steffany Gretzinger’s version of “Defender.” In the song, she spontaneously sings out,
“You fight for us
Prince of Peace, you fight for us
You’re not struggling to hear me
So, I’m not striving to be heard
I am sure the One who made me
Is catching every word”
I love Steffany, and I’ve heard this song countless times, but I love this one prophetic line because I love the reminder of His strength in our weakness and that He fights for us.
He fights for YOU.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth!”
– Psalm 46:10
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
He who keeps you will not sleep.”
– Psalm 121: 1-4
“I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will NOT be shaken.”
– Psalm 16:8
“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have N E V E R seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”
– Psalm 37: 25
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.”
– Psalm 40: 1-3
P.S. Here’s the song link (https://youtu.be/MJ9cov1lk64)
“Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God,” (Isaiah 66:9, ESV)
”Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” GOD ’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel: “They’ll rebuild their ruined cities. They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine. They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables. And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land. They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.” GOD, your God, says so,” (Amos 9:13-15, MSG)
“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours,” (Isaiah 61:7, NIV)
The temptation to exchange peace for worry can be real. Sometimes the reality of “peace that surpasses all understanding” is so contrary to our flesh that we feel like we’re not doing enough, or that peace isn’t normal in the midst of trying times. A lot of times, it’s not a question of whether or not God will come through, it’s a matter of “Exactly how long can I remain this calm throughout the rest of this process? 😂 Can I discipline myself to stay in this peace, and in the love of God?”
The answer is YES.
YES, you can.
Last night, I opened my Bible, and it fell to 2 Chronicles 20. It is a great reminder of God’s faithfulness when His children turn their faces to Him. If you’re battling with staying in peace, this is what the Lord has to say:
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His Words, and you will succeed.”
Praise before your breakthrough.
“And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against their enemies.”
We live in a very prideful generation, and I’m not only referring to millennials. We think we know everything. We look to be affirmed that we know everything, and anytime someone else speaks, their credibility with God has to first be proven. We don’t always realize it, but even when someone reprimands out of love, our first thought is, “& how is <insert problem> working out for you? Yeah, please don’t try to advise me. Thanks.” (Clearly, we don’t even want to THINK about someone reprimanding us that isn’t saved!)
I love reading a story in Matthew 16 where Jesus is being tested. “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ So he left them and departed,”(v. 1-4)
Every time I read this, I’m always amazed that although they were looking in the direction of revelation, they only ever saw the weather. Sadly, this is how we are sometimes. We’re looking towards God, but we’re so busy trying to prove “what we know” that we’re missing the bigger picture, and “what we know” is so irrelevant in comparison to what God wants to show us and do through us. Let us not be a people who look to the hills where our Help comes from, but walk away with limited vision. He desires our hearts to be whole so that we can capture the hearts of those around us.
“A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” (Proverbs 13: 7 MSG)
I LOVE this verse. It is my favorite verse lately. Recently, I’ve found myself to be one who moves so fast that I am always doing before I have a chance to process. This past week I had an event that really slowed me down, and in the slowing down, I have found so much of God. I never realized that although the things I was doing were good things, they may not have been God-things for the season I’m in. & what I’ve found is that there are a lot of believers who live from this place, as well. Satan’s greatest weapon for our generation is distraction, and he doesn’t necessarily need to attack our finances or our relationships if he can keep us distracted from God. We’re distracted by our social media ministries and following, our cool titles and positions, and our likes from people we don’t know & who do not know us. We literally thrive off of building a life to impress people who probably pray for us less than they think about us (I’m sorry. That sounded really harsh, but think about it: How many people are you praying for that you follow?) We have based work ethic and self-worth on our levels of exhaustion at the end/beginning of each day, and the truth of the matter is that there is nothing cute about exhaustion when we’re called to live from Matthew 11: 28.
“If you want your life to have impact, focus it. Stop dabbling and trying to do it all, do less. Prune away even good activities and do only what matters. Never confuse activity with productivity.” -Rick Warren
“I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3: 13, NLT).
Fear of Missing Out.
“The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a lie from the pit of hell against the character of God. This lie says the same thing that the serpent told Adam and Eve – ‘God won’t give you all you need and want. You need to take it into your own hands to make sure you don’t miss it.’ It’s fear. Anytime fear is your motivator, your life will be marked with anxiety, worry, self-reliance, and striving. None of these were present before the fall or in God’s plan for your life currently.” –Moral Revolution
A few years ago, I remember hearing a woman speak about having a pioneering spirit and it stuck with me. Can you imagine being the type of person who is willing to tread upon new turf, and do something that no one has ever done? Exciting, right?
But, would you do it if it required you to walk away from the crowd?
What if (outside of the Holy Spirit) you had to do it alone?
That’s where we find our issue.
So many times we want to go all in with God, but not at the expense of missing out on what’s going on in everyone else’s life. This sounds funny, but how do we measure our growth if other people aren’t around? We look at the highlights of someone’s life and if our lives don’t measure up, we shift whatever needs to be shifted to stay relevant.
At the sake of our callings, we’re willing to shift our focus so that we don’t miss out on what culture is doing right now.
But God is calling us away from the crowd. He’s calling us away from the noise. Rick Warren says it SO great, “Those who follow the crowd often get lost in it.”
I love how God proves that when we’re willing to come away, He will tell us the secrets of Heaven. “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 16: 15-17, ESV). Peter was walking with Jesus while looking to the Father. Can you imagine how close Peter had to have been with God to have the revelation that His friend was the Son of the living God?
God has awesome secrets to tell, and things that we’ve forgotten that He wants to remind us of.
We just have to humble ourselves. A person on their face can’t stumble.
We have to focus our lives. Again, “A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” (Proverbs 13: 7 MSG)
& we have to know that God is good. We’re not missing out on anything, “…God, who richly provides us with everything we need for enjoyment,” (1 Timothy 6:17)
“Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” – Edwin Hubble Chaplin
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me,” (John 15: 1-4)
Whenever I feel that my world is a little shaky, I tend to lean towards control.
Control over the big things.
Control over the small things.
Trying to control what people think of me.
Trying to control other people’s lives.
Even trying to control my relationship with God.
Over this past week, I’ve realized that (for me) control is a false sense of stability; an illusion of that helps me to cope when I feel like nothing is going “my way.” Truth is, I never wanted to address that small seed of fear from possibly being disappointed by fully going “all-in” with God again. Someone once told me that: Pride is the fear that man, or God, will make a fool out of you. But let me tell you just how merciful, loving, patient, and faithful He is. As I started praying for God to remind me of things forgotten, I slowly (and I do mean SLOWLY. The struggle has been REALLY real!) relinquished control. I found that 1. He exceeded every need I had, and 2. He started healing my heart & restoring my memories. He reminded me of what was real during those seasons, and where I was offended. After a few days, I realized how much I actually missed the adventure of going “all-in”: I missed the adventure of walking with Him, and Him revealing something new to me. I missed “doing vision” with God, and praying about the next step. I even missed the harder times that pulled me closer to Him. He reminded me that (because sometimes we don’t need another lesson in an area, we just need to be reminded of what’s already been taught) that a man on his face cannot trip and fall.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29: 23)
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
ALL He requires is that we stay connected. The branch’s only job is to hold the fruit that was labored through the Vine.
We take what would benefit us, and we surrender it to God. We take our motives and what WE need and place them aside for the sake of staying attached.
We learn to live surrendered to the Vine while remaining attached to the Vine.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you,” (1 Peter 5: 10, ESV)
Two AWESOME teachings I watched this week:
Relinquishing the Myth of Control by Pastor Touré Roberts of One Church LA
What Goes Up Must Come Down by Pastor Dustin Stradley of Elevation Church (SO good! I’ve watched this one a million times!)