Have you ever felt that your responsibilities to others in your life leave you feeling tired? Worn down? Do you work hard to be there for others who depend on you, ensuring no one is ever disappointed, or feeling unloved by you? Is it important that you make sure those who are special to you feel that they are special, treasured, cherished by you, every minute? Me too. Loving people well is hard! And, we’re all human. We aren’t perfect, we make mistakes. All of us. Our earthly relationships, even the best that we have, can leave us feeling hurt, resentful, tense, and completely exhausted.
God recently used a sweet friend to remind me that all of that (see above) is an opportunity to lean into Jesus. That the enemy comes to kill our resolve to love well, steal our joy and energy, and destroy the good relationships in our life — the ones God is working in especially!
This reminder sent me running to Jesus, asking Him the same thing I ask him every time I struggle to work my way out of something hard. He knows me well, and I think he waits for my famous question… “But, how Jesus! This is so hard!” And I was reminded, that though I felt drained, emptied, used, hurt, and tired. He fill us. Focusing on my worries, my hurts, my obsession with over-analyzing hard situations, is really just a focus on myself (can you say, pride?) and even a focus on others, when I should be focusing on God. (Luke 10:38-42)
If you are giving too much of yourself, too much of your time, and too much worry to things or situations that drain you than seep yourself in this scripture this week.
Let him fill you where you are drained, let him strengthen you where you are worn, and let him energize you where you have grown weary.
Romas 8:6-8 | The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (NIV)
And, it really hit home with me in The Message version — I think you’ll love this:
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. | Romans 8:6-8
This summer has been a journey of discovery. New hobbies, sparked passions, fresh perspectives. Digging deeper into who I am as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend I have learned new things about myself as well — some things good and some not so good.
Through a bible study and a few different books I’ve devoured cover to cover, one theme has been constant. Great expectation.
I am learning that there is power and boldness in coming to Christ with great expectations, and I believe He’s encouraging me to do that in this season. I’ve taken a scary leap of faith to start The Fresh Lens Blog, I’ve nurtured relationships that are really hard for me, I’ve forgiven when I really didn’t want to, and I’ve continued to travel a few paths where most days I’d really rather just give up. But, I think this is just the beginning.
I’ve read over and over that Jesus rewards our efforts to know Him better and fully. He promises this. He asks us to come boldly before Him. He says to seek Him as the driving force for our lives, and He will be.
I continue to be reminded in his word that God calls the ordinary to do extraordinary things; that each of us is meant to be a miracle, as he changes us from sinners to disciples that glorify him; that rejection and insecurity will never get the last word; that he can steady our hearts and use us.
We hear stories all the time of individuals used by God in incredible ways, despite all odds. Hope sprung from tragedies, miraculous stories of physical healing, lives changed by the hand of God. Friend, he has been telling me, and I believe he wants you to know that you too are meant to be a miracle.
How can you come boldly to him with expectations today? What do you hope He will do but can hardly believe that He’s capable? He is, you know. What’s your miracle? Your leap of faith? Let him steady you, let him make you secure. Trust.
I know that with such great expectations and willingness there is bound to be opposition. In fact, it’s guaranteed. I say bring it on. God is bigger; my hearts is secure. I can’t wait to see what he will do.
She will have no fear… Her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Her heart is secure…| Psalms 112:7-8
I read an equation recently that changed the way I think about confidence and change. In this life, walking with Christ means always seeking change, always striving to live in a way that brings glory to him, and to grow his kingdom. It’s an everyday battle, and an everyday choice to pick up the cross and follow him. This requires empowerment for us to face the many challenges this life throws at us. While the challenges may look different for each of us, many times the battles look the same.
Empowerment = being strong willed about what God wills.
It’s so easy for us to feel weak and think that change is too hard for us. To give up because we think we aren’t strong enough, aren’t capable enough, or don’t have it in us to be a real driving force for change in our lives, in our marriage, in our parenting, in our families, in our church, in our community.
Those are lies! We absolutely do have it in us when we walk with Jesus, and he lives in us. 2 Cor 13: 5 | Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? It’s so hard for us to remember this when we leave ourselves exposed to these lies from the enemy and“the gap between knowing what we need to do and doing it is where the enemy attacks.” (Beth Moore)
So why does this gap exist? What is keeping us from doing the thing we need to do? Is it the enemy’s lies? It is us believing we don’t have enough x, y or z? If we don’t stop feeding the unhealthy part of us with these lies that we aren’t enough the lies will take over.
Friends, be empowered! Choose to believe the truth that Christ in us is a powerful force for change and for victory!
John 16:33 | I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Captured this little one smiling in her daddy’s arms this week at the lake. A sweet and gentle reminder that we too can have fullness of joy in our daddy’s arms.
Psalm 16:11 | You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.