21 Lessons in 21 Days: Singleness

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Twenty One: Its okay to be single

I don’t know if it’s the nurturer nature in me, or the fact that I didn’t have my father in my life growing up that has made me really crave attention from the opposite sex, but ever since I was really young I’ve always wanted a male by my side. I had my first boyfriend in second grade, and it seems like from then on I continued to have one up until this year. I like long-lasting, deep friendship types of relationships. I love taking care of people and making them feel like the most special and cared for person in the world. I love the idea of bonding with and growing with one person for a long time. Somehow, though, the relationships I’m in always end up in a disaster. Anything from being cheated on, physically/emotionally hurt or just a random break up has occurred and left me feeling lower than the ground. I realized that I would place my identity in these people and once our relationship was over, it began to feel like my life was too. So I found myself jumping from relationship to relationship for a long long time.

In May I made a promise to God that I would take this most recent break up as a much needed break from relationships. Though it feels almost unnatural for me, I’m learning that it’s okay to be single. Singleness serves as a time to learn more about self and all the hidden beauties that are almost impossible to see when another person is constantly involved. It’s a time to focus on self without any distractions. It’s an opportunity to try new things without being held back, and a chance to get to know God on a deeper, more personal level. It’s scary, because I’m used to the total opposite, but in these four months I’ve already learned so much about myself and my self esteem is on the rise. My identity is being broken apart from other people and growing more into who God has called me to be. I’m exploring passions and falling more in love with who I truly am deep down.

As of now I don’t know how long I’ll be in this state of singleness but Ive become content within it. I don’t know what the future holds for my future love, but I’m learning what I want that to look like when the time does come. I don’t know what other amazing things I’ll get to learn about myself, but I’m excited to continue this journey of the unknown because I trust in the one who is leading it.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Paul Perspective

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This post is apart of the blog series  21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Twenty: Having more of a Paul perspective

The theme of my last mission trip was “press on”, inspired by Paul’s insight in Philippians. Throughout the mission trip we studied Philippians 1-4 together in small bible study groups. I remember being in awe of the way Paul viewed his personal struggles. Despite his terrible setting of prison, he chose to stay joyful instead of displaying negative emotions. He understood God’s purpose for him, so he was able to compare his situation to the bigger, more important picture. He understood what the end goals were and that every situation is gain for the kingdom. Through it all he openly expressed his love for Christ and Christ’s people. How many of us rejoice and express love to others when we’re going through a rough time? I certainly don’t. It’s a hard thing to do.

During the San Diego mission trip I discovered that want to be more like Paul. I want to learn to embrace my struggles and take them as an opportunity to share the gospel. I want to learn how to be content in those struggles. I want to be confident that my trials are advancing the kingdom like Paul was in 1:12, and I want to know deep down that everything happening will deliver me into who God created me to be, the same way Paul did in 1:19. I want to one day be able to automatically see things the way that Paul did, and hopefully my struggles will attract people to God the same exact way Paul’s witnesses did jail 1:14.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Fasting

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Eighteen: Fasting helps you grow closer to God

This year I learned that fasting is a spiritual discipline. I used to think it was just something people did because they either wanted to diet or wanted to see how long they could go without something. I learned that fasting serves as a way to be more intimate with God. It’s an opportunity to become more dependent on Him, rather than those things we feel we need like food, social media, tv shows and phones in general. When done right, it makes you commit to God and focus on necessity.
I fasted for the first time this year and boy was it hard! I felt God leading me to do it. I kept hearing things about it at church and in random conversations, so I decided to try it. I gave up all food and social media for four days straight (it’s good to start short and work your way up). The four day time period I chose happened to fall on the first few days of RA training, which usually means lots of good free food. Whenever it was a meal time I would drink water and either read a bible plan on my phone or continuously say a verse in my head. I was doing really well until one day we had a mandatory staff dinner at a restaurant that served my favorite foods. I had to sit in front of and next to people that were eating my favorites and all I could do was drink my water and pretend not to be dying inside. I made it through the night somehow, but I feel like that was the ultimate test for me. And in the endurance of my fast I got closer to God, making our relationship grow stronger.

When Jesus fasted  he went without food for 40 days and 40 nights. And the same way I was tempted toward the end of my fast, He was too. He was really hungry, and the devil came along to remind Him that as the son of God He could literally turn a stone into bread and eat it. Even through His hunger, though, He knew that the Word of God was more important than food. He was able to keep His fast going because He relied on Gods strength. It’s such a powerful feeling to complete a fast without allowing any temptations to ruin it. So my lesson learned? Fasting is really important for learning to rely on God more, and you have to do it for the right reasons for it to be effective.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Thankfulness 

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Seventeen: Being more thankful to the Lord.

Today I taught my kids about the story of the healed leper in the bible. In the book I read them called The Thankful Leper, there were 10 men with Leprosy- a skin disease that makes you break out in sores. The men would cover up their diseased skin with cloth and they’d have to yell “unclean!” each time someone passed in fear of getting others sick. Well, one day Jesus healed all 10 of them because, you know that’s what He did, but surprisingly only one of the men thanked Jesus for His miracle. It’s easy to read about that story in present times and judge how ungrateful those other 9 men were, but when I look at my own life, I can shamefully say that I have done the same.

I noticed that I thank God when something big (in my eyes) happens, like an obvious answered prayer, or an unexpected blessing. But I don’t thank Him for the everyday things I take for granted. The things like waking up in the morning, the opportunity to be teaching the precious little ones about Him, and the relationships I’m building everyday. It’s not that I’m not thankful or grateful, I just forget to mention them in prayer sometimes. Reading that story to my little ones today reminded me how much God should be glorified for the blessings He’s placed into our lives. That includes the everyday things we may not think too much about. This year I came up with an idea where each night I would write out a list of things I’m thankful for, no matter how big or small. I found that it helps me see positives in each day that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. I’m so grateful for Gods subtle reminders of what’s important to Him.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Context

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Sixteen: We should always consider the context when dealing with difficult people.

We all know atleast one person that is almost impossible to deal with. I’m talking about those mean-spirited, bitter kinds of people that talk to you with so much disgust in their voice that it feels personal. If you’re anything like me you tend to stay far away from them, and you probably talk about them from time to time. But what if we took the time to think about why they act the way that they do, instead of reacting in the way we normally do?

Life hurts sometimes, and our pain can sometimes cause us to act in ways that are not like ourselves. If you’ve read my last blog, you know that I really value taking time to completely heal from past hurts. What often happens when we don’t allow ourselves to heal is this massive build up of bitterness and anger. The build up can get so big that it ends up affecting all that is around us, and we quickly become that mean-spirited person we try to avoid. That’s all it really takes. We are all just a few steps away from being that person.

Knowing this, we should consider the context when dealing with those really difficult people. The same way not everyone knows what we’ve been through on a bad day, we don’t know what a person may be going through when they act that way towards us. Just think about what it is that they could be dealing with that has made them the way they are when you encounter them. Think about all of the people that avoid them, or reciprocate their negativity instead of being loving towards them. The majority of people they run into probably won’t even care what has made them that way, but we are cut out to react differently. So let’s try to act the way Jesus would. Be understanding. Don’t react in their same manner. Meet their mean words and attitudes with kindness. Don’t take their ways personal because truthfully, they’re having a battle within themselves, not with you.

Not long ago this year I was traveling with a group of people, and one of them pretty much complained the entire time. Nothing we did or said seemed to make her happy. We kept quiet for the most part until she completely insulted another member of the group one day. All throughout the trip we kept our frustrations to ourselves, but once she “crossed the line” we all lost it. We couldn’t hold back the way we were feeling about her negative attitude and how much she was ruining the trip with it any longer. It was bad. She ended up being so upset that she cried. At first I was so annoyed that I didn’t even care about her being upset, but soon I started to wonder why she acts the way she does. I felt bad for her. I couldn’t imagine being so unhappy that it spreads into any and everything I do. I had to put things into context and really try to understand where she was coming from, which wasn’t easy because it meant I had to put my pride to the side and put her needs before my own. That day I definitely was reminded to treat people the way Jesus would have.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Healing Takes Time


This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days 

Lesson Fifteen: The healing process takes time. Don’t run from it, learn from it.

Did you ever get hurt as a child, and get frustrated at how slowly your wound(s) were healing? If I remember correctly, it especially sucks when you’re on a sports team and your wound prevents you from participating for a while. In the same way, internal wounds can take a long time to heal, leaving us really frustrated that we can’t immediately get back to regularly scheduled programming. Our internal wounds can come from a wide variety of things like divorce, break-up, sexual assault, infidelity, addiction and abuse. While these things are truly painful to go through, it’s important that we don’t rush the healing process (or try to ignore it as a whole). When we try to go back to regularly scheduled programming while we’re still wounded, we end up doing an ineffective job. It’s kind of like a soccer player trying to play in a game with a broken foot that hasn’t healed all the way yet. It will only hurt yourself and those around you.

Healing takes time. Our wounds can only begin to heal once we allow ourselves to focus on them. It’s a process. And the best way to prolong the process, which is not ideal, is to pretend that it doesn’t need to happen. So, allow yourself the appropriate time to fully heal. Focus on the wound. Learn from it. Endure the process so that you can return to your life ready to effectively take on the world.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Spiritual Gifts

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Fourteen: spiritual gifts can reveal undiscovered passions

I remember the first time I found out that God gives all of his children spiritual gifts. I was so interested to know which ones He gave to me specifically. After some research I learned that the reason we have spiritual gifts is to minister to one  another. Not everyone had the same gifts, so we’re supposed to use our personal gifts to help those that aren’t gifted in those same areas (1 Peter 4:10). Gifts are given for us to carry out the work of Jesus in the world. 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31 talks about the various spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, mercy, faith, wisdom, and teaching.

When I dug a little deeper on my research, I found that my gifts were of  mercy, wisdom, and faith. Each description for those gifts explained me completely. The gift of mercy is all about the sharp, sensitive awareness of another person’s needs. Merciful people sense other people’s pain and share it with them. The gift of wisdom involves using experience and God’s Word to give advice/feedback. A person with the gift of faith exhibits a simple confidence in God and it shows in everything they say and do. That’s me in a nutshell.

Since I’ve learned some of the gifts God has woven into my being, certain ministries have become really appealing. I love being in a position to take care of and love people while sharing their pain and experiences. I love sharing my wisdom and expressing the faith I have in God for all to see. My passion for mission trips makes sense when you think about my gifted areas. I get to love on/hang out with all kinds of people while sharing things like a culture and faith stories. As Christians spiritual gifts are such a huge part of our lives. It explains so much about our characters and uniqueness. If you don’t know which gifts God has blessed you with, I encourage you to find them out. This year, while I was doing all of my research, I came across some ways to help learn which spiritual gifts a person possesses. Here is a summed up list of what I found.

1. Learn about the spiritual gifts. Study scriptural passages about them and gain a good understanding of them.

2. Pray for guidance. Whether you think you have an idea of your gifts or not, pray about them. God will reveal them to you with time.

3. Make a commitment to God. He often shows us our gifts through opportunities to act them out. Trust in Him and do whatever He asks if you.

4. Examine yourself. Look at how God has already been at work in your life. Review past accomplishments and present interests. What are you good at? What do you love doing?

5. Seek confirmation. Do other people recognize the same gifts in you?

6. Try out the gifts you think you may have. Volunteer in ways that you can use your gift.

7. Look for results. Effective? Use this gift in ministry, take training opportunities, expand your knowledge, read books and speak with other Christians that have the same gift. Ineffective? Look to try out new gifts.

8. Continually pray for guidance and strength in the use of your gift(s) and ask God to open your eyes to the needs of others that your gift may address.

Once you find your gifts, you’ll know in your heart. Never stop using them, and helping others discover theirs too.