Stress and trusting in God.

Pray More

I talked to my sister not long ago about this and how we say we have faith, but our attitudes express otherwise. You can pray every day, read your Bible, and say “Yes Jesus, I trust Your will for my life!” but then when you come back to reality you start snapping at people. Whenever I start being mean and having an ‘attitude’ it’s because I’m stressed out and worried about a million things. It’s like being in a constant state of being ‘unnerved’. At this point of my mindset, my faith is circumstantial because if something rubs me the wrong way I’m going to fly off my wagon (whatever that means LOL! – I was born in a country household).

I will admit I can be a bit OCD about things, if even one or two things are out-of-place in the house, I need to clean them, right then, right now. The same thing applies when I have a to-do list. In the next few weeks I have so much stuff going on and all I can think of “Is everything going to be okay?” I get anxious about it. I think where I’m trying to get healthy, now adding a bunch of dental work on top of that, and now doing a million things at my church, I feel overwhelmed. If I’m being honest, my stress, although it’s a sin in and of itself, turns into an even bigger sin. I start nitpicking at things and I’m not content. I have to constantly apologize for things, just ask my husband and he will tell you. I don’t like being like that and I don’t know about you, but I feel alone when things start piling up. That I need to ‘carry this burden’. I can’t expect anyone else to help. I’m so quick to do my freak out dance that I forget I have God who helps me carry those burdens. I’m not meant to do it on my own. I also need to realize that I need to go to my husband more often because when I told him the things laying on my heart yesterday I just wept on his shoulder. He reassured me everything was going to be okay and I believed him. God’s Word reassures us that everything is going to be okay too and we need to believe that as well. We need to take God’s Word for face value.

No wonder some of us have anxiety, we try handling things that are out of our control. I caught myself yesterday just needing to take a break and breathe. I could feel my chest getting tightened up it was that bad. I wonder how many times I’m going to have to learn this lesson from God. Trust me girlfriend or you guys out there, when you think you’ve got your walk with God under control and you have it down to a T, you don’t. Our faith can be shaken, but let’s not be moved. At the end of the day, all we have is the Savior. When everything falls apart, when everyone fails you, God will still be on His throne in His perfect righteousness. We have to stop looking down and at our situations and look up – our hope should be in heaven. If you feel like you’re playing ‘catch up’ in life, you’re not the only one. I’m there too and I feel like I’m always behind in this world that is always moving forward.

It just dawned on me now that when I had told my sister I had been stressing, she reminded me my worth was in Christ. I thought to myself at the time… “Okay, well what does that have to do with stress?” It has everything to do with it, because the things we stress out about is the things we usually find our worth or value in. We find success in these things going well, whether it’s a relationship or job, we worry about the status – where is it going? We go back to being circumstantial. If you lose your job, if they cut your hours back, if your relationship is failing, if you have no friends, if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, it’s okay. You know why? Because our worth isn’t in those things. Those things change. I’m preaching to myself here and I’m crying as I type this because I always need to be reminded of these truths.

If you need prayer for anything, please comment below. I will leave this blog with a prayer that whoever reads this will find hope again if that’s what you needed today. May God bless you for His glory and remember to trust in Him.

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My thoughts as of lately.

God's grace

I’m sure everyone is getting tired of hearing about the Paula Deen situation, but it quite frankly stirs an anger in me because this world doesn’t know how to give grace. Despite where you lean on the situation, if you screwed up would you want people to forgive you? At the end of the day, people can kiss my b-u-t-t if they don’t like what I have to say. I don’t live my life to please anyone, nor do I need to explain myself, lime light or not. We’re accountable before God, not man. A big difference between man and God is that God can look at our deepest darkest more horrible sins and still forgive us. Man  on the other hand will knit-pick the heck out of the tiniest things and magnify them and hold them over our heads. Big difference. God>Man. Just saying.

Moving on… :).

On the bright side of things, I’ve been in my Bible again reading the book of John. I had to watch myself the other day because I tried to speed through my readings to make up for lost times. That’s a big no-no because after I read it I was like… “What did I just read…? O_o” If you’re just trying to read to cross it off your list, then your heart is in the wrong place. Soak it all in, even if that means only reading a little bit a day.

Well, I’m going to go relive my childhood through watching The Little Rascals on ABC Family :]. Have a blessed night everyone and don’t forget to tell people you love them.

– Ashley

Misconceptions about Christianity.

BACKGROUND: After a series of nightmares and endless tossing and turning, I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit by a train. I felt awful so I put the heating pad in the microwave, took 3 IB profen, and started to pick up around the house. That last part has to sound crazy to most people and it did for me too, at least this morning because I had the intentions of hugging the recliner while I wallowed in my pain. After picking up around the kitchen I turned on the television thinking “okay I’ve done some stuff, so I’ll sit down after I hear the microwave go off.” Yeah, about that… that didn’t happen either haha. I kept making my way around the house, slowly feeling the headache go away, and then heard the local news saying the Pope decided to resign.

If you’ve been in the faith long enough, one of the things that should have came into your mind is the book of Revelation/ End Times/ Rapture/ Anti-Christ/ False Prophet/ Prophecies. Whenever it comes to strong authorities or leadership in this world, I can’t help but believe those will be the people who will be responsible for helping God’s prophecies come alive. It usually only takes one topic as such to get this girl’s mind going. Shortly after I received a message from my sister asking me about the book I had been reading, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan, the wheels started to turn more. Everything in my thought process this morning kept going back to God. Inevitably I think about people who aren’t saved when I get on this one track mind.

I decided there was way too much on my mind this morning to make a Facebook status out of it, one that would probably get over looked any ways. At least my thoughts have a few cents more value on here. The reason I’m writing this blog…. *drum roll please*… if you read the title, yes, it’s about misconceptions about Christianity. Don’t ask me how I got there, I just did haha. When I come to to these random thought processes I honestly think it’s the Lord trying to get something across through me. You may beg to differ, but with God anything is possible.

The few misconceptions that stood out to me were:

1.) Jesus Christ – in the words of C.S. Lewis, He is either a “Liar, lunatic, or Lord.”
I don’t think there are enough people in this world who take the time to actually ponder about who Jesus is. Most people lean on the thought that he was a good prophet. When people say this, it leads me to think they have never read the actual Word of God – The Holy Bible – KJV  (Kings James Version) – NKJV (New King James Version) – ESV (English Standard Version) – NIV (New International Version). John 14:6 says that Jesus is the ONLY way to God. He died a criminals death on a cross to take the burden of our sins – to make us acceptable before God. Can someone really say a good prophet would do this? A liar? A lunatic? Christ did not die in vain. He took the punishment we deserve and He is currently sitting at the right throne of God in heaven, He is a Sovereign God who deserves our never-ending praise and devotion. That is who Jesus Christ is.

2.) Grace – the definition or what comes to mind when you hear this word. 

Before being saved, when someone said the word ‘grace’ it made me think of people who dance ballet ‘with grace’. Something peaceful, serene, slow, light handed. Dictionary.com even defines this term first as…

  •  grace [greys]  noun, verb, graced, grac·ing. noun “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice. Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease. Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.”

Some people may even think of it as the thing you say before you eat dinner. However, the grace that God gives is free unmerited favor. Meaning it is a gift, not anything we can earn or deserve. It means we are forgiven because Christ has taken our place. The best example of grace is how we constantly spit in God’s face, but His grace makes Him long-suffering and ultimately puts up with us. Again, not because we deserve it… but because He is God. It’s non-existent in our society to give others grace because we’re more prone to be bitter, vengeful, unforgiving, hateful, etc.

3.) Sin – Don’t do this and don’t do that. Hello legalisticcc!

This is actually addressed in Scripture and it’s called hypocrisy. The biggest people back then to make up these lists of dos and don’t were called Pharisees. These people were super-religious and thought they were holier than thou. They did everything right in their eyes and even in the public eye. They would even go to lengths of making sure people knew they were fasting because their appearance would be dreadful (fasting would usually show on their faces). These exact same ‘religious’ people nailed Christ to the cross. They accused him of blaspheming God and summoning demons. Christianity is more than the 10 commandments, it’s about our hearts. Do we think we’re fooling God with our works? No, of course not. Some people think they can abuse the grace of God yet proclaim Him on Sundays and call themselves “Christian”. Sin is not just about doing bad things, it’s also about not doing good things. When we’re given wisdom by God, we’re even more accountable because we know better. Sin is a heart thing.
4.) Church – Money scandals and hypocrites?

I find it sad that a lot of people blame bad churches for being the reason why they don’t attend. You wouldn’t believe the excuses I’ve heard, especially when it comes to tithing. “Ohhh churches are just after my money.” I can see where a few bad news stories might make one apprehensive, but the real reason is that they just don’t want to go or they just don’t want to tithe. Churches aren’t just the building and they aren’t perfect. The church is the body of Christ and it’s made up of believers imperfect believers. Another excuse that people use is that people are hypocrites within the church. I’ve heard Matt Chandler preach on this and his response to that was “Yeah and you’re one of them.” We’ve got way too much time on our hands to be nit-picking the church. If you find yourself in drama at church, examine your heart. Have you been going for God or the social aspects of it? And if you care so much about what other people are saying, are you letting that outshine the truth of God’s Word? God’s opinion is the only one that matters. As believers we are to live above reproach. Humble ourselves. Forgive others always – no matter how bad. Rebuke in love. And pray about it.

This blog isn’t directed towards atheists, I’ve read way too many discussion boards from Ray Comfort’s blogs and posts to know they have “read the Bible front to back” “researched Science” or what have you. They think they have it all figured out and there’s no talking to them because any kind of truth you give them, they want proof. The fact is, one of us is right and one of us is wrong. We can’t both be right. I believe in the God of the Holy Bible. Please do not make excuses when it comes to God. We’re never promised tomorrow and that ‘proof’ you need will cost you your soul. I’d rather people not wait till judgment day to figure this out. If you have any questions or comments, please list that below and I will be glad to talk to you. God loves you my friend!!!

Your worth.

In a world flooded with advertisements, music, newspapers, television, movies, radio, what have you… we’re constantly being told what a person of any kind of worth looks like. Popularity, wealth, success, relationships, friendships, beauty – these are all things that define us by the world on the radar of worth. Striving to be all of these can wear a person out, not just physically but emotionally. Who can be all of these things or even one of them? What about times in our life where we have nothing going for us? What are we worth? When depression seeps in we either pull the trigger, develop an addiction to a drug, or become a hoarder.

You get my point. We run from our feelings by tapping into other things that consume our time. Why is it that we let things that CONSTANTLY change in our lives define who we are as a person? Or what about our happiness? Sounds circumstantial. You can only muster up ‘looking on the bright side of things’ for so long till you start to question things. For the woman who hasn’t found a man yet, will you be happy when you get married? What about when things start to suck and he disappoints you because he’s human? Someone might say that’s time for a divorce, but to me, that’s just another way of running from a problem that’s a lot deeper.

I love the fact that people are now standing up for their weaknesses and flaws. Examples: It’s okay to NOT be a size 2; having a disease doesn’t define one’s strength. Those are good things to realize and bring awareness to. But what about things that are not so good? I feel like people take this and go 10 steps deeper and start taking perversity and justifying it. Having an identity crisis means it’s okay for a man to start wearing women’s clothing. Maybe you don’t feel like anyone relates to you, so you marry a chicken. The Bible even talks about how we trade wisdom for foolishness.

Dude read Romans 1, it tells us how mankind became corrupted verse 1:25 says They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” This isn’t a gay bashing blog, it’s about a deeper problem. Our sin. Before I get too off track, the point I’m trying to make is that we take the weird or flawed things about ourselves and use them to boost our ego. We’re taking the lemons from this life and making lemonade. That can be a good thing but also deadly. You could either be sipping something sweet or poison. See we can either be self-centered morbidly or be arrogant and think the sun shines out of our butts. Either way we’re constantly putting the focus back on ourselves.

I love seeing the beauty in things and in people, but don’t be the type of person to worship it. True beauty comes from knowing who you are in the Creator. That your worth and foundation for happiness and purpose in this life is based on the cross where Jesus died. That’s where all of God’s wrath and love poured out all at the same time. Bottom line, this world brings attention to flaws and can either make you arrogant or completely insecure. When you get the focus off yourself and look at your flaws for what they are and your strengths… you see them in a different light. I see grace and an area to grow when God exposes my weaknesses to me. I don’t want to run from my problems anymore. I have a God that is willing to carry me through them. He knows we can’t do it on our own.

Don’t be so prideful to think that if God really loved you, He would accept the way you are and you wouldn’t have to change. Coming to Christ means denying yourself. People paint Christianity as God being okay with our sin, that He requires little or no committment from us, that God is only there to make us happy. If you read in the New Testament, Paul was constantly in prison. Are you telling me he missed the picture? Following Jesus is not easy, but best believe if He calls on your heart to come in a relationship, that you answer knowing it won’t be easy. I can’t see my life without Christ and the reward of knowing Him in those dark moments of my life make it worth it. I use to be alone in my troubles, but now that I’m saved I have a Savior who shares in my suffering and gives me strength to live for Him. You can’t abuse His grace, live how you want, repent, and have the cycle start over. What kind of relationship is that?

God is such a loving God, the verse on my phone the other day was Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you…”

Where has your focus been?

Like.

I guess things aren’t bad in and of itself, but they’re not necessarily good for you either. It all goes back to 1 Corinthians 10:23 “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.” So just because you can watch that reality tv show, read those make-believe fantasies, listen to that music, go to that friend’s house, have a girl’s night out, or whatever… does not mean it’s good for you.

I had to question my heart earlier as to why I get so annoyed with people not being on my same level of thinking. Facebook is just one of those things in particular that ‘gets my goat’ because people are now going through this phase of liking pictures. “Like this picture if you know who this is”. I’ve seen these pictures about deformed ‘cute couples’ and we like these pictures to what… pity these people?! Act like we have a good heart because we’re not judging them for what they look like? If you quote something from a popular movie, you’ll get instant likes. When you post something about Christ, well… good luck even getting anyone to read it!

I’ve been sharing a lot of Way of the Master (an Evangelical ministry) videos and just sharing things from Scripture or my heart and it seems as if no one cares. Not that it’s about me, but why don’t they like more important things like God?! Or why do their statuses consist of it being all about them and what they’re up to… and not about God? I feel like Christianity  today is so surface-level, even within the church… people who call themselves ‘Christian’. I know everything I’m feeling can shift towards the dangerous side of self-righteousness, but I don’t think it’s heading that way. I’m acknowledging how I feel and I’m praying about it.

I just feel like I’m at that point of Philippians 3:8 with God… “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” Seriously… I don’t see the point or value in most things anymore, I know that sounds depressing, but I think it’s just a matter of seeing where my priorities are. I’m in no way judging anyone because I know that I was the same way a few years ago before I took my walk with God seriously.

Deep down, I feel alone sometimes with my emotions. Proverbs 14:10, “Each heart knows its own bitterness and no one can share in its joy.” If you’re anything like me or just a female for that matter, you’re going to know how this feels. Your heart feels something, intense, and you want to share that with… anyone, anyone who will just GET what you’re saying. But then you just get frustrated when you try to seek that person or expect others to befriend you and your feelings. There’s just no point in expecting anything from anyone, your heart is your heart. It’s yours for a reason and only God can know where your heart stands. And guess what? That’s okay. I know we want people to relate to us because it’s almost as if sharing in that burden of whatever it is that’s pressing our heart… I know it makes you feel even more lonely, but I think we forget to look at how beautiful our situation really is. We don’t even realize just how intimate this is, that only God can know our heart. I mean really know.

The next time you find yourself teetering over the edge of self-pity, just remember that you’re not alone. I know how you feel and more importantly, so does God. We can share an intimacy with Him that no one will ever be able to have or even know about :)!