The Brick Wall

There’s a wall. I can’t tell exactly what put it there or when it got put up. I haven’t been able to journal in a long time. I can write posts or do a quick journal but to dig deep, I can’t even get passed it. It’s like road block.

I put on a mask without even realizing I’m doing it.  I pretend that I am who I am on the outside of the wall. Everything is surface level, including most, if not all, of my relationships. I don’t even know what’s behind the wall.

Maybe it’s my heart, my trust, that I locked away because every time I tend to get close to someone, we end up parting ways not on good terms. Maybe it’s my past that I haven’t fully moved on from and that past addiction that keeps haunting me. Maybe it’s because I isolated myself from the world because I don’t want to admit that I’m extremely broken and that I need Jesus every moment of every day. Maybe I’m hiding from fear; fear of failing, fear of being inadequate, fear of  judgement.

In service Sunday we were taking communion. As I began to ask God what I needed to ask for repentance for a full list of things started popping in my head. I was taken back by it but as I repeated them I remembered them. It was a game changer. 

It has allowed me to get back up on my feet and move forward. Even if it means  it’s a slow removal of the wall brick by brick. God knows why the wall is up, even if I have no clue. The best thing I can do is hand him the papers to it so he  completely knock it down. Otherwise, all I can do is fight the wall, and the wall will always win because I don’t have the strength on my own to fight it. 
 

Laying by the Water 

John 5:1-15… Jesus asked the invalid man if he wanted to healed after laying there for 38 years. And after he was healed Jesus had to tell him to get up! You would think that someone who wanted to healed for so long, would realize that they were healed and that they can get up.
How many of us are that way with our relationship with God? Like we made it to church, but that’s it. That man made it to the waters, but he laid there still sick, he laid there no being able to move. We make it to church but we become just people there. We don’t let scriptures move us, we don’t let the Holy Spirit convict us. We show up because we want to healed from our brokenness and sin, but we remain too comfortable in it. We see healing happening but we still don’t move. We see God doing things and others lives and we wonder “why not me?”…

If you’ve accepted Christ in your life then get up. You brokenness and sin has already been paid for. Everything you are fighting against has already been won. Jesus conquered death on the cross. If death has already been conquered what else do we have to fear?

So get up and open your heart. Start serving in your church. Join a small group. Do something to get you plugged in. Let the healing process actually begin. 

Harden Heart

I was flipping back and saw this old picture of myself…

 
I was 19 at the time. I was immature. I was dark. I thought I knew it all. I thought I was a nobody. I thought I wasn’t worth anything.

These lies I remember telling myself over and over again. I’m worthless. No one likes or loves me. No one even cares. 

But the problem I have found its not that no one does, it’s because I didn’t allow them to. I closed myself off from anyone who had a glimpse of possible hurting me, and it all started in childhood.

Growing up with a mother who loves me dearly but a father who was barely home and said horrible things when he was around. But all I wanted was daddy’s love. 

So I inadvertently gave up all together. I fought my mom about not wanting to get out of bed, I didn’t want to face the world of harsh and nasty people. I even failed a grade because of it. 

Through it all, I lost Tanya. I lost the girl I used to be before my heart became stone.  I lost communication with world. I lost the ability to communicate. In groups I wouldn’t take charge or hardly communicate because the lies people I loved just played over and over in my head. I was the “quiet” one. I was the one no one noticed because it was easier for me to not talk and not be noticed then to have to bare the chance of being hurt. It wasn’t worth it, because I felt I wasn’t worth it.

One day my parents found a poem of mine talking about death and taking my own life. It’s the only day I remember as a kid when my parents both told me they loved me and they were sorry for ignoring me and for everything I’ve been through. Life didn’t change much after that, there was more people tiptoeing around the truth that made me feel more unloved.

I say all of this because 10 years ago I was still that little girl. I didn’t mature from the point at which my heart harden, which was around the age of 10. I simply grew in age and the voices in my head just grew stronger.

It wasn’t until I allowed Christ to soften my heart did anything even begin to change. He began to work in me through the Word and he began to replace the lies I tend to tell myself. I still hear them today, I still battle this but the more I replace the lies with God promises the less and less I hear the lies. The more I see the core of who God made me and it’s beautiful.

I am a flawed person and it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to think what comes to mind and not everyone will judge you. It’s okay to open your heart and to let people in. It’s okay to be me and there is no one better to play the role of me in the story God has already written for me. 
 

The Battle Within

There have been multiple attempts to write over the last couple of months. Unfortunately I sized everything, I judged myself, I didn’t find myself adequate to write. Mentally and spiritually  maybe I wasn’t.

I’ve been battling a lot lately. I have been going down a path of darkness. I started to see habits of my old ways that I got scared and hid. I started convincing myself that my new self was just  a facade. That  maybe I was never made new in Christ. Maybe this entire thing of who God says I am is not who I am.

It’s not that I didn’t try to stop my thinking. I listened to sermons. I read the Word of God. I still attended church. Still nothing stopped me from thinking I was a complete phony, that my old self was better than my new self. It was like the enemy  hitting me were the soft spot is the armor I have on repeatedly and I just couldn’t recover from the battle.

The crazy thing through all of this God never left my side. Even when I never got the connection, never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, doubted the mere existence of Him, even when I battled through darkness and with the enemy; He was there. It was Psalm 139 where no matter where you try to hid, He is always with you. He created you.

Even if you have moments when you try to battle the negative thoughts, the depressed thoughts, the thought that you are not made new in Christ and you are not who God says you are, you still are. You are beautiful. You a princess. You are forgiven. You are a child of God. He will never leave you. Wherever you may go regardless if you don’t feel him, or don’t feel like anything, God is with you. 

Getting Stuck in a Valley

I don’t know where to even begin.

Life has its ups and downs. But right now I’m in a valley, I may look like I’m climbing the hill, but every day there’s a struggle to even begin the first step.

The saying is “it’s just one foot in front of another”. Yes that is true but those who are in dark places, are learning to walk again. They need someone to hold on to, someone to help them up if they fall down. 

I’ve been battling depression lately, it’s been really hard. I’m not going to lie and tell you, I’m okay. I’m not.  It’s been hard to get out of bed in the mornings. It’s been hard to open the Word of God in the mornings. It’s been hard repeating the promises of God over and over again. BUT it doesn’t mean I don’t overcome and do it. It may not feel right in the moment, but it’s okay. 

The hardest thing is I feel alone even when I’m not. I sat a Rend Collective concert last weekend, and I literally felt like I brought only myself to the concert. I brought 3 other people and there was  some of my church family sitting beside me. I’ve begun to keep to myself more, and isolate myself. It’s dangerous. 

Today at church pastor touched on some topics near and dear to me and my struggles. He was reading from Hebrews 10:19-25; below are a few verses:

“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” -‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pastor stated  “Jesus is faithful, even when we’re not full of faith.”   So I may struggled and I may have some dark places and sometimes I will get stuck in a valley. BUT it doesn’t mean I give up. It doesn’t mean that God has given up on me. It means that some days may be hard, but God still has hold of me. I may fall but Jesus is still my anchor. I’m not less than or more than because I struggle with depression. I’m a human being who has flaws and struggles. God still loves me. Jesus is still faithful. 

Guilty Voices 

I’m guilty of a lot, but one thing hit me tonight. 

I was the advocate who stood up to remove God from schools. I was an advocate for seperate church and state. I was an advocate for removing God from this new world we call America. 

I’m guilty. I’m guilty of convincing people not to believe in God with facts and so-called “wisdom”. I’m guilty of putting labels on Christians and marking them as weird and full-of-themselves. I am guilty of a lot. 

But God saved me. God sacrificed his Son, JESUS CHRIST. I was guilty of those things, but in Jesus I’m made new. God placed a burden in my heart to stand for what I believe in, I just never realized I was rooting for the wrong team the entire time because I all I wanted to was to be like every other person I knew. I never dug deep, I never truly knew what I believed. I never realized that “fitting in” was a tactic of the enemy. God knitted you together, if He wanted everyone the same, He would’ve made us all the same. 

So many people today are scarred of what others think. Nonbelievers, Believers it doesn’t matter. We look around to see who has their hand raised in worship, because we don’t want to be the only one. We don’t like to pray outloud or in public because we are afraid of what others might think of us. Do you know what they might think? They might envy you. They might want what you have. They might want that kind of faith. So what if you get some who don’t like to feel uncomfortable around those “Christian folk”.  It’s not your job to please everyone. Every though some think so. I am majorly guilty of that. 

It’s a hard battle, but God has shown me a lot recently. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have a voice in what I believe in. It’s okay to stand up for what’s right.

Listen, God gave of us a voice not to just talk about ourselves, our drama, and our cozy churches. He gave us a voice to stand up for Him to defend Him and to proclaim His Son, Jesus. 
Use your voice for the good and it can change people’s lives. 

Lasting Impression

Impression.

Today’s word is impression. Many of us try impress others to some extent. Us women, we wear make up; we try to make ourselves more “beautiful”, even go through the pain of heels. Why? Who are we trying to impress?

Besides what do we do on the outside to impress, what about how we act? Do we go out of our way to impress that one “important” person? Do we act more caring and interested when someone you know is getting married, a family friend gets a promotion, a friend tells you they are having a baby? We care but do we really care that much?  We may, but probably not. 

When a first time guests walks out of a church, the goal should be “leaving with a good impression”. Typically, the impression is done in multiple layers. From what they see and how they feel when they first come in, the people (How they are treated, what conversations they had, if any), research suggest the least two important part is the worship and the preaching. What does that mean? It means it starts with YOU.

If you are a servant of the Lord and I pray you are then it starts with your ownself. It’s a key to keeping a guest, it’s a key to building up the Kingdom of God. A popular command from Jesus himself is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Impressing is not loving, it is going beyond the means of your ownself temporarily to put yourself in favor. 

If we focus on our relationship with Christ, if we focus on the loving of self. We will not have to impress, we just do. Our extent of our self will overflow into our serving. Serving comes from the heart, serving isn’t a requirement, it shouldn’t be seen as one, it should be done in overflow of love. 

I’ve been to  a few churches, some mega churches. Some of them I felt it was forced. I felt like they were just doing; trying to impress so hard that they forgot why they are serving and who they serving. Some of them served their leader before the served their King. 

To be a true servant, you must first be a true Christian: ““Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” -Romans‬ ‭12:9-13‬ ‭

Therefore, impressing is not godly, or biblical. Leaving a lasting impression on someone is. If we show people who we are as the body of Christ, that we are genuine, that we love and serve with our hearts and not for affirmation. We can change people’s lives. 

Stop impressing. Start just being and allow God to use the you behind your flaws you cover up, behind the weakness you try to hide. God can’t bless you if it’s not the real you.  

Conviction

How many things do you hide from?

Each of us look for ways out of circumstances, each of us look for ways around things. We look for escape hatches before we even are forced to run. 

Some people don’t like churches because  they don’t want to be convicted. They don’t want to be forced to deal with the problem in their lives, who really does? They’d rather show up on a Sunday morning listen to the pastor preach then leave and never think about that sermon again.

I was listening to someone preach about how we are so focused on the outside of our churches, the building, the graphics, detail orientation, that we are neglecting the inside, the heart and the body of Christ. Same thing, I feel goes for us spiritually. Many of us go to church, we play the part, it makes us look good and feel good, sometimes we even tithe, sometimes we even serve but our heart isn’t there, our spirit is thirsting and yet we are neglecting it. 

We neglect our souls because we don’t allow ourselves to have the Word spoken to us in truth. We curve it around ourselves. Think about, if the pastor gets up there and talks about what you did the night before, let’s say  drinking, and states that being a drunkard is a sin, you will find every excuse to say that is not you. If the pastor says anything that is going on in your life, anything that relates to you, you think that it’s not you, that you aren’t that bad. Here is the thing, if you have to convince yourself you’re not that bad, you are. It’s time to buckle up and face it.

Allow the Holy Spirit to use that conviction for the good, not for yourself to hide. We are to be more like Jesus and less like self.

Take off your Sunday best, take off the makeup, who are you?  You are a child of The One True King. The Holy Spirit is apart of you. Don’t live for selfish gain, live to be like Jesus. He lives inside of you. 

Center of it All

I came to realization that I typically take whatever topic and talk about myself and my past and how I can use what was taught to grow myself and hopefully others. There’s a flaw in that however. A flaw that is drilled into all of us. It’s all about me. Why? Why do I have to talk about myself? Using my own personal stories to reflect on the Word of God is great, but if you take a blog, even my blog, and you read it, it’s centered around one thing, ourselves. 

“Well then what’s the point of a blog if its not about me?” Here’s the thing, if you are a Christ follower and I pray you are, it should reflect your life, and Christ should the center of your life not yourself. So many of us will take negative situations and allow it to affect our emotions, feelings, and our day even weeks to years. We give the situation control of our lives, all because we allow it to affect us, because it’s all about us. BUT it’s not suppose to be about us.

Jesus did not die for us to be in our own self pity world. He suffered and died for us to live in freedom in him. Negative things happen, but we can’t define ourselves as the situation. Allow Jesus to set us free from all the horizontal chains and weights we put on ourselves.

Jesus loves all, love like him. Jesus forgives, forgive like him. Jesus shows mercy, allow mercy to flow through you. Jesus was sinless, live a life trying to achieve a sinless life. Jesus redeemed us, live in freedom. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, love yourself so that you can show love to your neighbor. 

Loving yourself is hard. However, God made you. He doesn’t make junk. He makes wonderful and lovely things. You have purpose in life, even if you do not see it. God made you just the way you are. God loves you. God is your Father. Love yourself because The Creator of the World is the Creater of You. 

#Ihaveissues

Tonight I literally sat in service at a church I’ve been watching for a few years online. Tonight was one of the hardest messages I’ve heard, maybe it was impact of the message of being at the church or maybe I was SUPPOSE to be there and the Holy Spirit just spoke clearer than watching it online. Either way, God had his hand in every aspect of the message that was delivered to me.

First off, the message was titled, “Hidden Issues”.  Issues that I’m hiding from, not you but me. What am I hiding from, & what am I hiding behind, were the questions asked. My self inclined  reaction was nothing, I’m not hiding, everyone knows everything, right?  Wrong.

As Pastor Steven was preaching my insecurities, my fears, my self-doubt, my reactions to things, how I personally respond to situations that I tell no one about just started playing over and over in my head. I was hiding. My selfishness and self centered ways showed off its ugly head this evening.

My issues go all the way back from early childhood. It’s not my family’s fault. I can blame them but the reality of it all, it’s my own fault to be holding on to things  that I don’t even realize I hold on to. My issues are my issues, it’s not their burden to carry. 

I have to get over my ownself. I have to literally spend time with God away from all the distractions in this world, and just be one with my father. I’ve been longing for this for so long, I can do it for a few moments but then everytime I get distracted, I reconnect, I put my focus on anywhere but my Father 

I recently took that jump, I trusted God, and quit at the time my only income source, my job. I felt God was calling me to, but I quickly forgot as to why. Where there may be several reasons, the number one reason was my relationship with my Father was struggling. I told my pastor that all I was doing was working, and I get inclined to do so, I loved my coworkers and why not bend over backwards for them? It’s who I am, it’s who God made me. But here’s the thing, it started destroying the very thing that I hold as an anchor in my life, my relationship with my Father. So what won there my gifts or my Father? My Father ultimately got the way, and I quit my job. But it stopped there. 

I prayed but not the extent I should. Recently, I was asked “What is God telling you to do?”. I couldn’t answer it. I didn’t know because I was focusing so much energy to my freedom that I neglected to remember why God called me out of my job to begin with, to build up and mend my relationship with him, so that I can do and serve with gifts he gave me to better His Kingdom, to live on mission with God. 

So when I say, I need to get over myself, and have that personal time with God, I do. I have to get over me because I know for fact I am what is holding me back, no one or nothing else.