You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
- Oceans, Hillsong United
Ever listened to a song on repeat over and over? About a year or so ago, my song was Oceans. I hadn't listened to it in a while, and when it came up on shuffle on Spotify tonight, I knew that it was exactly what I needed to hear.
We all go through waves in our lives and we never really know which wave we are going to get. There are the really large waves that we are somewhat prepared for. Normally, we aren't prepared for how strong the wave might be, but at least we can see and know it is coming. Then, there are the waves that have an undertow. They look nice and we don't think they can hurt us, but they end up packing in a lot more punch and sometimes being more painful than the large waves because we weren't prepared. Finally, there are small waves that are there to show us that even though the ocean may be rough, it can't be rough forever. Although we may not have a clue which wave we are going to get, we know who controls the oceans and the waves. God does. And he won't lead you through anything you can't handle. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for each one of our lives. Although we look for happiness and fun, we need to appreciate the struggles and challenges because those situations allow us to grow.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
We all go through the highs and lows of life. Some days it might seem like we are just getting swept away with negativity and the lows. When everything in your life seems to be going wrong, cling to God and to the life he has given us. Oceans by Hillsong reminds us to step out in faith and trust and depend on God more than ever.
Oceans paints a picture of the way Peter felt when he walked on water.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
I want to be like Peter. Peter trusted in God to walk OUT on the water. He didn't take a floatie with him, he didn't beg God for another way, but he had faith that God would rescue him from the storm and waves. This past year, I have definitely felt very scared in my life about what I felt that God was leading me to do. I have felt intimidated and very worried about the road ahead. There have been times where I have dodged God's path for me.
In Matthew 14:30, Peter got scared and asked for the Lord's hand. I am definitely guilty of this. Instead of leaping forward and trusting God fully, I sometimes wait for a sign or want to wait until everything is completely calm. When Peter lost sight of God, he started sinking. When God came back to Peter's eyes, he was completely fine. I don't want to sink, I don't want to lose sight of God.
Join with God, ride the waves of life and keep your eyes above the waves. Trust in Him to take control and "lead you where your trust is without borders."
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
"If Your Dreams Don't Scare You, They Aren't Big Enough."
I can't even remember a time when I wasn't dreaming big or working toward a big goal I had in mind. Transitioning into life after college has proven to be a little hard for me - the quarter life crisis is real. Thank goodness I decided to get my master's. Did I want to go back to school and just become a professional student? Doctorate? Yeah, maybe another time....haha.
When I finally realized that this new transition didn't mean that I had to give up on my dreams, I was able to find the pep in my step again. It definitely took some time and a lot of praying, learning and most importantly, listening. Some of my dreams might seem a little far fetched, yes, but hey - anything can happen! Recently I have been struggling with worrying and overanalyzing. It is both a blessing and a curse to have such a type A & communicator personality. Because of this - I overanalyze everything. I worry about settling for something that is less than my dreams. In this transition, I have somewhat realized that when you settle for less, you are actually giving up on your passions. Like I said, I have a "communicator" personality. I also am very passionate about everything that I am involved in and put my heart and soul into everything I do. This is also a blessing and a curse as well because since I am so passionate, I tend to get upset a little more easily and get emotional.
I now understand the reason for my "quarter-life crisis". I was no longer dreaming. I was settling. I was just going day by day not working toward a goal. I was starting to become someone I didn't recognize. Because of this, I have decided I never want to put myself through the "no-dreaming" phase EVER again. My question and issue now is - when do I need to settle? I know I will always have dreams. Like I said, those dreams won't always come true. When is it ok to settle? For what reasons? Why? These are questions I have been asking myself (and praying) about.
I heard the song below (Cast My Cares by Finding Favour) on K-Love a few months ago. Little did I know what an impact it would make on my heart! It's okay to have dreams and I know that the Lord will always care for me and lead me through this crazy thing called life no matter where it may take me!
When fear feels bigger than my faith
And struggles steal my breath away
When my back's pressed up against the wall
With the weight of my worries stacked up tall
You're strong enough to hold it all
I will cast my cares on You
You're the anchor of my hope
The only one who's in control
I will cast my cares on You
I'll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you've always imagined.
Getting older has taught me a lot of things so far. With managing many different activities, jobs, internships, and school, I finally got the hang of being organized. Took me long enough, huh?! In the last 2 years of being in grad school, I became such a PLANNER. No really, my Erin Condren planner became my new best friend. I was so proud of how organized I had become and looked forward to living each day (and life) that I had planned out. If you knew me at all in my first two years of college, then you know that this was a huge step for me. I just didn't really understand how to manage my time very well, haha but I was young! Before I knew it, I began planning everything. I was happy with planning, but it seemed like along the way, I forgot how to go with the flow and just live life.
I have always been extremely goal-oriented, focused, and driven. When I see a goal I want to achieve, I go after it - full speed ahead.
A few years ago, I decided that my next goal after college was to dance/cheer on a pro-team. I set my sights on the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. Nashville seemed like it would be the perfect future home for me. I started preparing really early and even eliminated Chick-fil-A from my diet (if you know me then you definitely know how hard that was!). I began a 12 Week Bikini Body Training Program (Kayla Itsines' BBG), ate super healthy, and prepared in the best ways I knew how. I made it through the first two rounds of auditions, and I was definitely proud of myself for making it to Finals! I had been job searching daily and my mind was set that I was definitely moving to Nashville. My plans were going great so far. Final auditions flew by and I truly felt like I did my absolute best. When my number wasn't called for the final team, all the things I had planned for my future just disappeared into thin air. It took me a few hours to bounce back, but I remembered that I am not in control of my life. God is. As much as I wanted to be on the team, it just wasn't in God's plan for me at that moment in time.
Trust that God's plan is better than yours.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
As the scripture teaches, God’s plans may not always be our plans, but He knows what He is doing, and we just have to trust in Him.
I started to think back on some other times in my life I had been disappointed and remembered what successes came soon afterward. I didn't make the University of Tennessee dance team, but then went on to the University of Memphis, which turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. God had to say no to my plan, because he had something better planned for me. We all go through disappointments and struggles in life. If it wasn't for those hard times - we wouldn't be able to appreciate the good times!
I'm still trying to figure out God's plans for me. While it's hard to take things day by day, He sure hasn't let me down yet, and I know He won't.
Suffering: a disguise for a blessing.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Every struggle in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce perseverance, strength, and faith in you if you let Him.
I started writing this post tonight because I came home from a run and noticed that someone had backed into/scratched the side of my car sometime today. I got upset, which is normal. And it's okay to be upset. But I have to stop being so upset when things don't go my way, and I definitely have to stop being so upset at small little things (but darn those Memphis drivers!). I definitely need to work on leaving things in God's hands and not worrying and stressing so much!
Writing has always been a sense of release for me, and I hope that this post can help someone who is going through struggles or someone who doesn't know where to turn when none of their plans work out. I can't wait to see how God will use me next!
Lately I have been noticing a lot of selfishness in today's world. Instead of just thinking about it, I decided to write about it. Whether it be from my personal experience or hearing about other people's experience with it, selfishness is a very real thing. I have heard some advice that it is okay to be selfish at times - but is that really true?
In my personal experience with witnessing selfishness and being selfish in my own life at times, I have learned that it is very hard for someone to realize on their own that they are being selfish. As humans, no one is perfect, but after we are selfish, we need to learn to recognize it or else we will continue being selfish and it will become a regular habit. Along with that, we also need to bring it to the person's attention when someone around us is being selfish. However, that's probably easier said than done, because we don't want to hurt others' feelings.
The biggest problem with selfishness is that it brings no fulfillment of value. Although one may seem happy in their selfish pursuit, the truest form of happiness comes through helping others and being kind.
Selfish pursuit leaves people constantly wanting more and their happiness is conditional on getting their own way. In short, selfishness not only hurts those around the selfish, but it hurts the one living that way as well. (http://home.messiah.edu/~lw1262/ptsn1.html)
There is actually a wikiHow website with 28 steps on how to stop being selfish. I know it seems crazy, but these are some seriously good thoughts!
In my personal experience, I have found that I sometimes think of others before myself. While I worry about others, I often get frustrated because I don't feel as though some people return the favor. We definitely all fall short and make mistakes, and being a selfless person is a VERY hard thing to do. And I am definitely not saying that I am selfless at all times, I definitely have my ME moments, and it is something I need to work on. However, with lots of prayer and guidance from the Lord, we can all work on becoming more selfless. Something that I think could help would be a gratitude list! I have been participating in the 100 Happy Days challenge, and I just completed day 97. While some people might see it as a me,me,me thing - the whole purpose of the challenge was to remember that something good happens in every day no matter how bad the day may seem. There is always something to be thankful for and to be positive about! The 100 Happy Days challenge has definitely helped me remember the happy things in life!
Selfishness is that attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others. However, the Bible commands us to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4, NASB).
I think the Bible has given us a lot of guidance on being selfless. Here are a few verses to help:
Love that is without expectations of return is unconditional and selfless. The love Jesus had for us when he suffered and died on the cross for us, and the love that God showed us with sending his only son to die for us was selfless. This is the love we should strive for and love everyone with.
In my opinion, it is not okay to be selfish, so it's time to stop telling ourselves that it is.
I'm going to try to live my life being more and more selfless each day!
If you want to take the 100 Happy Days Challenge, go to this website :)